LIHU‘E — Celebrate Arbor Day in Hawai‘i and “go green” by purchasing and planting a native plant from the Arbor Day plant sale on Friday, November 5, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) Pua Loke nursery located at 4398-D Pua Loke St. in Lihu‘e.

Local floral enthusiasts and rare plant collectors look forward to the annual event, especially since DOFAW began offering federally listed threatened and endangered plants, native to Hawai‘i and used for the State’s conservation programs.

This year’s sale will feature a diverse array of Kaua‘i’s botanical gems, such as Ma‘o hau hele (Hibiscus brackenridgei), Aloalo (Hibiscus clayi), Hau kuahiwi (Hibiscadelphus distans), Uhiuhi (Caesalpinia kavaiensis), and Loulu (Pritchardia remota). All of these species are endemic to Hawai‘i, meaning they are found nowhere else in the world, and will bear a numbered tag for authenticity.

Arbor day sale attendees will also find more common native plants available, including the indigenous tree Wiliwili (Erythrina sandwicensis), and the native white hibiscus Koki‘o ke‘o ke‘o (Hibiscus waimeae subspecies waimeae) as well as the canoe plant Noni, valued for its medicinal qualities.

In addition to encouraging the use of native species in home landscaping, DOFAW will offer Puakenikeni (Fagraea berteroana), a non-invasive exotic ornamental cherished for its fragrant flowers used for lei making.

This is a great opportunity for gardeners to support DOFAW’s programs on Kaua‘i, as well as bring home plants to cultivate a native garden. Prices range from $3-$15, depending on the species and size. For more information, please call 274-3433.

About the plants for sale:

Threatened and Endangered Native Species

Hibiscus brackenridgei (Ma‘o hau hele), the state flower, is a beautiful, bright-yellow native hibiscus that grows in dry forests and found on all the main Hawaiian Islands. Hibiscus clayi (Aloalo), found in dry forests on the east side of Kaua‘i, this native hibiscus is rare and endangered in the wild. It has a miniature red flower and small, shiny, oval-shaped leaves that stand out in a garden.

Hibiscadelphus distans (Hau kuahiwi), an endangered native plant related to the hibiscus, with very few plants left in the wild. It has a small, curved, green, tubular flower with large nectaries that evolved with its pollinators, the endemic honeycreepers such as the ‘I‘iwi. It grows in dry to mesic forest habitats.

Caesalpinia kavaiensis (Uhi Uhi) is an endangered native legume tree that grows to about 30 feet and found in dry to mesic forests on the main Hawaiian islands. Rare in the wild, it has hard, dense wood that is near black in color and was used by Hawaiians for hale posts, weapons, fishing spears, shark hooks, kapa boards and beaters, and farm tools such as the ‘o‘o.

Pritchardia remota (Loulu) is an endangered native fan palm found on the remote island of Nihoa. It will grow in dry, coastal areas. Loulu was used for the construction of heiau loulu that were used as temporary fishing shrines to pray to the gods who presided over fishing. The leaves were used as a plaiting material to make baskets and fans.

Common Native Species

An indigenous tree, Wiliwili (Erythrina sandwicensis), at one time found growing abundantly in Nawiliwili, can still be found in coastal to dry forest habitats on the leeward side of the island. Wiliwili can grow anywhere from 18-45 feet tall. The soft, whitish wood was used by Hawaiians for surfboards, net floats, and outriggers on canoes, and the red-orange colored seeds were sewn into lei. Koki‘o ke‘o ke‘o (Hibiscus waimeae subspecies waimeae) is endemic to Waimea Canyon and has a fragrant white flower.

Canoe Plants

The featured canoe plant brought to Hawai‘i by Polynesians is the all-important medicinal plant, Noni (Morinda citrifolia). The leaves, bark, root, and fruit could be used externally for bruises, boils, wounds and skin eruptions, as well as poultices for broken bones. Juice prepared from the fruit was taken internally for all kinds of ailments.

For more information news media may contact: Deborah Ward
DLNR Public information specialist
Phone: (808) 587-0320

Department of Land and Natural Resources

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