Sometimes known simply as kava, the kava kava plant is a short plant with large, broad leaves, native to the Polynesian islands of in the Pacific Ocean. A number of Polynesian cultures have cultivated kava kava over the last few millennia, harvesting it for its root, which is the primary ingredient in a popular local beverage consumed both socially and ceremonially. This beverage is regularly served to guests and dignitaries as part of traditional hospitality on these islands. This plant has become difficult to grow through natural pollination, such that it is entirely cultivated by taking cuttings from mature stems. For many Pacific Island nations, kava kava is an important cash crop, and a valuable part of their society and culture.