The native tree species of Hawaii are mostly scattered in distribution and of small size. Only two native tree species presently are commercially important for wood, because of their abundance and large size: ‘ ohi’a lehua , Metrosideros polymorpha, and koa , Acacia koa .
The TALLEST TREES may include breadfruit, coconut , mountain apple, otaheite apple, avocado, mango, betel nut, ylang-ylang, and various forest tree species. UNDERSTORY TREESmay include bananas, plantains, citrus, noni (nanu in Samoan), papaya, soursop, cocoa and beach hibiscus.
Only 3 states have no native oaks . Alaska has none because it’s too cold, Hawaii has none because it’s biologically isolated, and Idaho has none due to the dry, cold climate (though neighboring Montana, which is also a dry, cold climate, does barely contain the native range of the drought and cold hardy bur oak ).
Hawaii has no native pines , but many species have been intro- duced as ornamental or potential timber trees . These species have been planted in environments that differ greatly from their natural habitat.
This tree with the distinctive flat – topped profile and graceful foliage is saddled with the common name Moluccan albizia. The Latin name’s no better: Paraserianthes falcataria. It’s native to New Guinea and the surrounding islands but was brought to Hawai’i as part of reforestation efforts in the late 19th century.
For those still paying attention, that leaves a clear majority of islands in the world without a traditional palm tree . “In other words, a whopping 61 percent of islands globally (using these criteria) lie outside the native range of C. nucifera,” says Underwood.
Tropical trees include palm trees, conifers , broadleaf evergreen and deciduous trees, and trees with luscious fruits or flamboyant flowers.
There are two endemic species of Acacia in the Hawaiian Islands: Acacia koaia and A. koa. The generic name Acacia is derived from the Greek, akakia, the name for Acacia arabica, ultimately from akis or ake, a Greek word meaning “a sharp point” and referring to the thorns of this particular plant .
The price of koa varies as much as any species in the world. Plain koa, without a variance in color or figure can be bought for as little as $15 to $20/bf and, if quartersawn, $20 to $50/bf. Lumber with the premium full curl usually ranges between $80 and $120/bf. Musical-grade koa runs up to $150 /bf.
Hawaii , as well as other tropical climate zones, is not the best area to grow deciduous fruit trees . These are trees like apple, peach, plum, pear, etc., that lose their leaves and go dormant in the winter.
Hawaii’s climate is not very hospitable to most maple trees which often die after a year or two of being planted. However, the ‘Joji’ variety thrives and continues to grow here year after year. This hardy maple reaches a height of six to 10 feet.
The Jacaranda tree can be seen in many place throughout Hawaii , however, if you are visiting Maui and have plans to visit Upcountry Maui, there is no better place to witness the amazing color burst of these trees . The trees can grow from 20-40 feet tall and just about as wide at the peak of their growth maturity.