Adopt a Native Hawaiian Plant
For Earth Day this year, April 22nd, you can help our native plants in Hawaii by donating to HFI and the Honolulu Zoo Children’s Discovery Forest. We will be planting native dryland forest plants in the Discovery Forest to raise awareness of the need to protect and restore these ecosystems and promote the use of natives in landscaped environments. More than 90% of our original native dryland forests have been degraded, developed or converted to other land uses. HFI is leading the restoration of several dryland forests in Hawaii, and we would like to highlight the beauty and diversity of the plants found in these ecosystems in our Honolulu Zoo Children’s Discovery Forest.
We invite you to choose your favorite from among 3 Native Hawaiian dryland forest plants and we’ll lovingly plant it at the Honolulu Zoo Children’s Discovery Forest. You can dedicate your plant to someone and even sponsor a commemorative plaque, if you wish. Once it’s in the ground, we’ll send you a certificate and a picture of your “adoptee”. You can then visit it anytime at the Honolulu Zoo and volunteer at any of our monthly workdays to take care of it!
The story of ‘Iliahi alo‘e or coastal sandalwood is a tale of woe. As with other Hawaiian sandalwoods, ‘Iliahialo‘e was subject to the Sandalwood trade from 1790 to the early 1800’s, and “the captivating scent of the heartwood has fueled greed among men throughout the world” [nativeplants.hawaii.edu]. Its unrestrained harvesting is also associated with one of the worst famines in the history of Hawai‘i. Photo: David Eickhoff
Hao is a drought-tolerant tree or shrub that is endemic to Hawai‘i. It gives greenish-whitish flowers and its wood is known to be very hard. In fact, the name for iron in Hawaiian is “hao”. Hao contains an alkaloid called reserpine, used in other parts of the world to treat high blood pressure and some mental diseases. Photo: David Eickhoff.
The Hawaiian or Forest gardenia is an endangered plant with the last known individual in the wild reportedly to be found in Nānākuli on O‘ahu. As noted by Rick Barboza of Native Hawaiian plant nursery Hui Kū Maoli Ola the porcelain-white flowers give off a fragrant smell that has a hint of coconut oil. Photo: David Eickhoff
About Dry Forests
Just over 100 years ago, broad expanses of healthy forest stretched across the landscape of Hawai‘i. Today only 5-10% of dry forests remain in Hawai‘i and 25% of Hawaii’s endangered plant species are found in dry forests. No other vegetation zone in the Islands has been so significantly impacted by de-forestation, invasive species and other threats. HFI is working on dryland forest conservation and education at our project sites such as Ka‘ūpūlehu Dryland Forest, La‘i‘ōpua Dryland Habitat Preserve, and Pālamanui Dry Forest, as well as the Honolulu Zoo Children’s Discovery Forest. For more information: https://hawaiiforestinstitute.org/our-projects/