Hawaii State Tree

May 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Facts about Hawaii

kukui tree

The vast and expansive Kukai tree has become known as the official state of Hawaii. It has come to be known as the candlenut tree and can be seen at various places throughout all of the Hawaiian Islands. The tree was native to the Polynesian areas and is found through various Hawaiian Islands.

Prior to the introduction of the Kukai tree as the state tree, the unofficial tree that was used as a representation of Hawaii was the Coconut palm tree which is found throughout the islands, as well as a significant part of the landscape of Hawaii – which is the reason that the tree was so popular.

Small white flowers grow on the tree and these are often used in the traditional customary leis which are distributed during celebrations and to visitors of the island. Standing up to twenty meters tall, the tree can be identified by these small white flowers, which are present through the leaves on the tree. These light green leaves are not only identifiable by natives of the Hawaiian Islands, but by visitors to the island that notice the trees presence throughout the landscape.

Where is tree found through the various parts of the islands? The tree can be found most prominently within the hillside and mountainside of the landscape of Hawaii.

The Kukai trees can grow upwards of eighty feet high and two feet around, making the high tree tops that can grow within the side of the mountains. Branches are evident more than thirty feet into the air and can form heavy foliage through the bases of mountains and valleys.

The fruits or nuts which are considered beneficial by natives of the islands are two inches in diameter and appear as black or brown softened nuts with pits that fall to the ground and rot quickly.

The nuts which are present on the tree are used for a variety of methods through the Hawaiian tradition, from creating lights with the use of the valuable oils from the tree, or even medicine which is used by natives to the island that can yield traditional holistic benefits when used as medicine.

As there are multiple uses to the tree, the natives of island see the value in the choice of the tree becoming a part of the Hawaiian culture. For centuries Hawaiians have used the oil which can be pressed from the candlenuts to soothe burns and it has been compared to salves that can be created through the use of Aloe Vera. Since the oil is not readily absorbed into the skin it can provide a salve as well as protection that are used for various skin ailments like psoriasis and eczema. While protecting the skin, it can also reduce the instances of episodes which are experienced. It can also protect against acne to reduce the amount of breakouts that a person experiences.

Hawaii is actually the only state which uses a tree to represent their state that is not native to the area. The origin of the Hawaii state tree is unknown, but has been found on the islands of Hawaii for centuries.


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