Focus on our Gardens: Trees

Caribbean Trumpet Tree (Yellow Tabebuia, Gold Tacoma, Tree of Gold)

Yellow Trumpet Tree

Tabebuia aura grows from 15 to 30 feet tall, and rarely to 45 feet tall, and is noted for its grey, corky, fissured bark. It is semi-deciduous, has a round crown, with thick and tortuous branches. Its leaves grow in whorls of five to seven, The tree is known for its showy, yellow, trumpet-shaped two-and-one-half inch long flowers that grow in clusters at the end of the branches in June through August, and in some locales, even earlier. The tree fruits in August and September. It is a native of Mexico and Central America, and is considered one of the most colorful of all Central American trees. It is the national tree of Brazil and Venezuela. It takes to container planting, and is an excellent bonsai subject.

Tabebuia species are important as timber trees, and are commonly labeled as ipe. Because the wood is insect-resistant and durable, it is used for decking and furniture. It has a fire rating of A1 which is the same as concrete! It is denser than water, and sinks. The tree is used as an ornamental tree in the tropics, and makes a nice street street tree. The flowers attract bees and certain hummingbirds. The tabebuia is related to the Pink Tacoma Tree which is also found at Kamaole Sands, as well as the Jacaranda. If you want to try to grow this tree, plant some seeds in a container in a shady spot, and keep the soil slightly moist. The seeds germinate in days. The tree prefers full sun and well-drained soil. Find our Trumpet Tree adjacent to the north fire stairs at Building Ten. If it is in bloom, you can get a closer look by climbing up to the third level catwalk.

There are over 100 species of Tabebuia, many with similar yellow flowers. Tabebuia aura is known by several synonyms. Our identification of the genus is correct but we are not confident of the identification of the species.

Catappa (Sea Almond, Indian Almond, False Kamani, Tropical Almond, Beach Almond)


Terminalia catappa is a large and very tall tropical tree that has been spread widely by humans. The native range is hard to pin down, as it is found in Africa, Northern Australia, New Guinea, Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent.  It grows to 115 feet tall with an upright, symmetrical vase-shaped crown and horizontal branching with the branches arranged in tiers when the tree is mature. The ovoid, glossy, leathery dark green leaves are quite large, 6 to 10 inches across.  The tree is dry-season deciduous, and the leaves turn pinkish, reddish or yellow-brown before falling. The tree has both male and female flowers that are small and inconspicuous. The nuts are edible, taste like almonds, and slightly acidic. They can be eaten raw. Oil extracted from the nuts is used in cooking in South America.

The wood is red, and was used by Polynesians for canoe-making. Since the leaves as well as the bark contain several flavonoids, anti-oxidants, and tannins, they have been used in traditional medicines for various purposes (liver diseases, dysentery, diarrhea, headaches, coughs, asthma, leprosy, parasites, and cancer prevention).

The tree is used extensively in certain areas as a street tree or landscape tree to provide color and shade. Tropical Almond should be grown in full sun on any well-drained soil. Plants are quite tolerant of wind, salt, and drought but do need protection from freezing temperatures. Trees perform best if mulched and regularly fertilized.

Find our Catappa adjacent to the Yellow Trumpet Tree at Building Ten north fire stairs.

Lechoso Tree (Milky Way Tree)

Leschoso Tree

Stemmadenia litoralis is one of the most beautiful, fragrant (and rarest) tropical species in our gardens, and produces a massive profusion of white flowers against the glossy green leaves throughout most of the year. It is a small tree growing to about 20 feet with a multi-layered canopy and paired dark green, oval leaves. The flower has a tubular corolla with 5 petals fused together, and when in full bloom, perfume fills the area with a soft, musky fragrance. The small fruits, in the form of pods golden in color, often appearing in pairs, look like the hooks of a miniature anchor.

It is a member of the Apocynaceae or Dogbane family which contains 355 genera and 3,700 species, which include the typical Hawaiian Plumeria (which is Mexican), the Oleander and the Periwinkle. All of these plants have diverse alkaloids which lead to their toxicity and to their use in medicines. Like many plants in the Apocynaceae family the sap is reported to be toxic.

Lechoso is native to Central America, but now is grown in most of the tropical regions. It only thrives well in frost free places. Kamaole Sands has four lechoso planted just outside the northern pool enclosure wall and in the central courtyard sidewalk planters. It makes a wonderful container plant, growing to perhaps seven feet.

Plumeria (Frangipani)


Plumeria is native to tropical and subtropical Americas, but is now found in all tropical areas of the world. In Hawaii, where it grows so abundantly, many people think that it is indigenous. As a member of the Apocynaceae or Dogbane family, Plumeria is related to the Oleander, and both possess poisonous, milky sap. Each of the separate species of Plumeria bears differently shaped leaves and their form and growth habits are also distinct. The species at Kamaole Sands, P. obtusa, originates in Columbia, and retains its leaves and flowers in winter. Plumeria flowers are most fragrant at night in order to lure sphinx moths to pollinate them. Unfortunately for the moths, their search for nectar is fruitless since the flowers have no nectar, so they simply inadvertently transfer pollen from flower to another. Plumeria species are easily propagated by taking a cutting of a stem tip in spring and allowing it to dry at the base before inserting into soil.

In several Pacific islands, such as Tahiti, Fiji, Hawaii and Tonga, Plumeria is used for making leis. In modern Polynesian culture, it can be worn by women to indicate their relationship status - over the right ear if seeking a relationship, and over the left if taken.

In parts of the world, for example, Singapore, the plumeria tree is associated with funerals. The white frangipani flowers are used to make wreaths. Some Hawaiians used to shun plumeria because of its association with graveyards. (Note the plumeria in the cemetary at Keawala'i Congregational Church in Makena.) Now the flowers are used to make leis! 

They can grow to be large shrubs or even small trees in mild areas of the U.S. In tropical regions, Plumeria may reach a height of 30' to 40' and half as wide. Their widely spaced thick succulent branches are round or pointed, and have long leathery, fleshy leaves in clusters near the branch tips. Plumeria is unfortunately susceptible to white fly infestation and the resultant sooty mold growth, and various rust and fungus diseases.

Plumeria may be found throughout the gardens and on the lanai side of buildings.

Hong Kong Orchid Tree

 Hong Kong Orchid Tree

You will recognize the Hong Kong Orchid Tree by its rounded, spreading canopy that soars to 40 feet (when it is not topped.) The Bauhinia blakeana displays very showy, slightly fragrant, orchid-like blooms in rose, pink and purple magenta abundantly in the late winter and early spring and intermittently through summer and perhaps into the fall months. Flowers can be cut and brought inside the house and put in a vase or a bowl with some water; they stay open for a few days. The Bauhinia double-lobed leaf is similar in shape to a heart, or a butterfly. Some Chinese people regard the leaf as a symbol of cleverness. Others use the leaves to make bookmarks in the hope that it will assist them to study well. Orchid trees is native to northern India, Viet Nam and southeastern China. Although orchid trees are considered invasive pests, the Hong Kong orchid tree is not, and this beautiful specimen tree, which has outstanding ornamental features, should be a candidate for any garden. The flower of Bauhinia blakeana was adopted as the emblem of Hong Kong in 1965. The tree was discovered on the seashore of Hong Kong Island in Pok Fu Lam, near the ruins of a house in 1880 by Sir Henry Blake, a one-time British Governor and enthusiastic botanist.

The Hong Kong orchid tree is a legume, which means its close kin include not oaks and sequoias, but the common or garden pea. The flowers are usually sterile so the tree will not set seed and drop long seed pods as do other orchid trees. This has led botanists to believe that Hong Kong orchid trees don't belong to a true species, but are an accidental hybrid, perhaps between B. purpurea and B. variegata. However, to make things even more mysterious, one tree has been found in Hong Kong that produces seed. Perhaps the Hong King orchid tree is a species after all.

There is a beautiful (and very happy) Hong Kong orchid tree in the back of Building Six above the barbecue. The trunk growing through the foliage belongs to a nearby coconut palm tree.

Monkey-Pod, (Rain Tree, 'Ohai, Mimosa, Saman Tree)

Samanea saman (syn. Pithecellobium saman & Albizia saman) is a beautiful rainforest tree from northern South America and the Caribbean with a magnificent spreading crown. It has the added bonus of having attractive pink flowers. It will grow to well over 100 feet in height with a symmetrical spread of perhaps 200 feet. It was introduced to the Hawaiian Islands in the 1800s.

The tree is sometimes called Rain Tree from the belief that the tree produces rain at night. The leaves fold together as night falls or when it becomes cloudy allowing rain to pass easily through the crown. Often, grass remains green under the tree but this is probably due to the shading, and the addition of nitrogen to the soil by decomposition of litter from this leguminous tree. It may bloom sporadically throughout the year, but primarily during the summer months. The leaves drop in February and March when the long, seed pods are visible. The pods contain a sweet edible pulp that supplies nutritious food for animals. Children also chew on the pods, which have a licorice-like flavor. It provides broken shade, so it is possible to grow under story plants beneath this tree. However, the surface roots cause maintenance problems and damage to structures. The beautiful, porous, dark-grained wood, similar to Honduran mahogany, is prized by wood workers for carved and turned bowls and furniture making. Most of the monkey-pod bowls for which Hawaii is famous are produced in the Philippines and Thailand. It is however listed as a pest plant to Hawaiian native ecosystems. The tree roots so easily that cuttings can be stuck into the ground in full sun and little moisture, In Honolulu, it is a common practice to transplant huge trees by cutting away most of the branches and roots, thus providing an instant full-sized shade tree in a few months!

Check out the two tall Monkey-Pod trees at the ocean end of Building Ten as well as near the tennis courts.

Poinciana (Royal Poinciana, Flamboyant, Krishnachura, Gulmohar, Peacock Flower, Flame of the Forest, Malinche, and Tabachine)

Monkeypod tree adjacent to Building Six parking lot

Consistently voted among the top five flowering trees in the world, Delonix regia is a species of flowering plant noted for its fern-like leaves and flamboyant display of flowers. It was named for Phillippe de Longvilliers de Poincy who is credited with introducing the plant to the Americas. The tree's vivid red, yellow or orange flowers and bright green foliage makes for an easy identification. The tree is a native to Madagascar, where it is endangered in the wild. It makes a great shade tree in tropical environs as it growns to a modest height of between 16 and 36 feet while spreading widely. In areas with a marked dry season, it sheds its leaves during the drought, but in other areas it is virtually evergreen. The dark brown seed pods of the Royal Poincianas are used in the Caribbean as a percussion instrument known as the shak-shak or maraca. Enjoy Poinciana in the median strip betwen Buildings Eight and Six parking lots.

Breadfruit ('Ulu)

Artocarpus communis is a relative of the fig. Its origin is shrouded in mystery: some believe it is native to Malaysia while others consider it native to Polynesia. It grows to the height of 65 feet throughout tropical Asia and Polynesia and it is believed to have been under cultivation for over 2,000 years. Breadfruit is one of the highest-yielding food plants, with a single tree producing up to 200 or more fruits per season. For many Pacific islanders the breadfruit is a staple. Although introduced to Hawaii by the early Polynesians, the Hawaiians came to prefer the taro as their staple food item. Fruits were eaten raw when ripe, or baked and eaten, or used in preparing other food items. In Hawaii the fruits were baked and eaten, or baked and pounded into a poi-like food (“breadfruit poi” or poi ‘ulu). When taro was not available the `ulu was substituted and mixed with coconut milk to make a pudding similar to kulolo. A common product is a mixture of cooked or fermented breadfruit mash mixed with coconut milk and baked in banana leaves. The fruit is a good source of vitamins A, B, and C. In Samoa the fruits are buried in the ground for several months as a means of preserving the fruit for later use.

The wood of the tree is light and was used for canoes, surfboards, and to make drums. The leaf stipules were used as a finishing abrasive. The milky sap becomes sticky when exposed to air and was used as chewing gum, caulking, and by the bird catchers to trap birds. The leaves are very showy and stiff hairs on their surface give the leaf a rough texture. `Ulu leaves were and still are a favorite design on Hawaiian quilts. Both male and female flowers are formed on the same tree. The male flower is powdery due to the pollen. The female flowers are very small and packed together. Because the female flowers are so tightly packed, as the fertilized flowers develop; the individual flowers form a collective fruit weighing up to 10 pounds. Each bump on the fruit represents an individual flower. Since seeds very rarely form within fruits in Hawaii, propagation of this plant is primarily from cuttings or root suckers. There are several varieties of Tahitian or Samoan origin grown in Hawaii. These varieties are differentiated by pulp color, taste and leaf shape.

Find the Breadfruit tree next to the Mango tree adjacent to Buildings Six and Seven, and between Buildings Seven and Ten.

Mango Tree

The mango is native to Southern and Southeast Asia, but now also grows in Central and South America, Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula. Mango trees (Mangifera indica) reach to 65 to 100 feet in height, with a crown radius of 35 feet. The evergreen leaves, when young, are orange-pink, rapidly changing to a dark glossy red, then dark green as they mature. The flowers are small and white with five petals, with a mild sweet odor suggestive of lily of the valley. After the flowers finish, the fruit takes from three to six months to ripen.

The ripe fruit is variably colored yellow (where shaded), orange and red (on the side facing the sun.) Green usually indicates that the fruit is not yet ripe, but this depends on the cultivar. When ripe, the unpeeled fruit gives off a distinctive resinous slightly sweet smell. The quality of the fruit is based on the scarcity of fiber and minimal turpentine taste. In the center of the fruit is a single flat, oblong seed (as big as a large stone). Mangos are widely used in chutney, cereal products, and juices. In Mexico, sliced mango is eaten with chili powder and/or salt. As an interesting variation, place a whole mango on a stick, sprinkle with a chili-salt mixture, and perhaps add sugar. An excellent overall nutritional source, mango is rich in dietary fiber, antioxidants, polyunsaturated fatty acids, carbohydrates, and essential vitamins and minerals. The diced flesh of ripe mangos, bathed in sweetened or unsweetened lime juice to prevent discoloration, can be frozen.

Since the mango is in the same plant family as poison sumac, mango's unripe peel also contains the oil, urushiol, which is responsible for sometimes severe skin rashes. The sap and debris of the tree is also very irritating. When mango trees are in bloom, it is not uncommon for people to suffer itching around the eyes, facial swelling and respiratory difficulty, even though there is no airborne pollen.

Part of the Kamaole Sands property was once the site of a mango orchard, and the only tree remaining is a beautiful specimen found between Building Six and Seven. Each Spring, hundreds of mangos can be seen ripening under our tropical sun. Picking can begin in June. When the mango is full-grown and ready for picking, the stem will snap easily with a slight pull. If a strong pull is necessary, the fruit is still somewhat immature and should not be harvested. Wash the fruit immediately to remove any sap which can cause rotting. A good precaution is to use one knife to peel the mango, and a clean knife to slice the flesh to avoid contaminating the flesh with any of the resin in the peel. The cultivar at Kamaole Sands is probably "Haden", which represented about 90 percent of all Hawaiian production.

Strawberry Guava (Waiawi'ula'ula)

Psidium cattleianum is native to Brazil and is considered a pest in Hawaii. It has shiny leathery leaves and the fruits are small - less than an inch in diameter - and when ripe are red in color. Fruits are eaten fresh or made into jellies and jams. The yellow strawberry guava, is called waiwi locally. This plant bears larger yellow fruit with a better flavor. However both guavas are listed as pest plants.

Find the strawberry guava in the central courtyard.

Areca Palm (Yellow Palm, Butterfly Palm, Cane Palm, Golden Feather Palm)

Areca Palms

Chrysalidocarpus lutescens (Areca lutescens), our ubiquitous areca palm, features many clustered, slender, and sometimes branching stems. Areca palms may reach 30 feet tall, and many at Kamaole Sands are approaching this height. Leaves are ascending, curved at the apex with sheaths and petioles yellow or orange tinged. This palm originated in Madagascar and is widely grown outdoors in the tropics. Because of their quick growth and clustering habit, they are very useful as screens, and that has led to their overuse.

In temperate zones they are popular as specimen plants for indoor use because they can tolerate relatively low light conditions. Since the areca palm releases copious amount of moisture into the air, removes environmental toxins, and is tolerant of indoor spaces, it is definitely one of the most useful houseplants available!

You can find areca palms at Kamaole Sands everywhere! Several years ago, 1500 areca were planted as foundation and screen plants at Kamaole Sands, but many have had to be moved or taken out.

Coconut Palm

 Coconut Palms

Coconut Palms are, no doubt, the most universally recognized and economically important palm. Copra (the dried "meat" of the seed), from which oil is extracted, is a significant cash crop throughout the tropics. Coir, the fiber from the fruit, is used in manufacturing. The fruits, or coconuts, yield several food products at different stages of development, and the leaves are used for thatch or are woven into baskets, mats and clothing. Even the trunks are used for construction. Of the tribe Cocoeae, and subfamily Arecoideae they are also known by the botanic name Cocos nucifera. Pacific Islanders consider coconut oil to be a cure for diseases. The coconut oalm is so highly valued by them as both a source of food and medicine that it is called "The Tree of Life." 

Find coconut palms in the central courtyard and behind many buildings. Since a falling coconut can severely injure a person, the fruit is not allowed to mature on our trees.

Burmese Fishtail Palm (Caryota Palm)

The Burmese Fishtail Palm (Caryota mitis), native to Southeast Asia tropical rainforests, is an eye catching specimen palm. It is suitable for sub-tropical and tropical climates and will do well in containers or indoors. The fruit, leaves, seeds, and juices contain calcium oxylate crystals that are extremely irritating to the skin, eyes and mucus membranes.

Caryotas are monocarpic, meaning that the fruiting trunk will die after blossoming. Other trunks would survive. Once the palm begins to flower, you have about two to five years of flowering before the trunk will die. These palms typically form multi-stemmed clumps up to 25 feet high and 12 feet wide. The fishtail palm can be used in shrub borders and outdoor container plantings. It tolerates heavy shade and is often used in interior plantings in commercial buildings. It does well in indoor containers. Because it is shallow rooted, it should be planted in an area protected from wind. This palm is perfect for understory planting in woodland areas.

Find fishtail palms in some of the shaded entry beds of buildings around the complex.

Foxtail Palm

The Foxtail Palm (Wodyetia bifurcata) is a medium to fast-growing exotic palm species that is suitable for moist sub-tropical and tropical climates. Foxtail Palms are native to the Northern Australia, and were discovered in 1983. The first few hundred seeds sold for over $5000 apiece!

The foxtail palm has one of the most spectacular foliage displays of all palms. The pale green arching fronds have leaflets that radiate out at all angles from the leaf stem, thus appearing like a bottlebrush or the tail of a fox. A mature foxtail palm has a canopy of 8-10 leaves, each with the characteristic foxtail or bottlebrush appearance, and a crown of foliage 15-20 feet across. Foxtail palm is thornless and has a slender, closely ringed bottle shaped or columnar trunk that grows up to 30 feet tall. The foxtail palm bears white blossoms of both sexes at the base of its crown, and a single palm is capable of producing fertile seeds. Foxtail palm produces colorful clusters of red to orange-red fruit, each containing just one seed.

Foxtail palm is considered by palm enthusiasts and landscapers to be a useful accent in a wide spectrum of landscape settings. It is prized for its robust trunk and its unique bushy leaves. Foxtail palm may be used alone as an accent specimen and may also be planted in groups of three or more for a stunning massed effect. Foxtails are being planted in rows along streets and driveways in some communities. Foxtail palm is also grown as a house or conservatory plant in well lit areas, or as a patio or deck plant in a large pot or tub. Plant foxtail palm outdoors in a site that can accommodate the large spread of leaves (15-20 feet average landscape size).

Washington Palm












Washingtonia robusta, named in honor of George Washington, are a fast growing and tall landscape palm. The Washington Palm, which can be seen in the central courtyard, and throughout the property, is also known as Mexican Fan Palm, and is native to the desert regions of Mexico where it tends to grow near permanent surface or sub-surface water sources. This palm grows over 100 feet tall, making it an impressive sight. Equally impressive is the trimming of these palms, where Tongan crews climb the trees to the top, swaying in the breeze while they chop off the dying fronds. The gray trunk is ringed with closely set leaf scars. In natural settings, usually part of the trunk remains covered with dead leaves that hang in a thatch or "hula skirt" for which this palm is famous. The fronds are rich glossy green and grow to about 5 feet long and 4 feet wide. They are borne on 3 foot orange leaf stems that are edged with vicious sawtooth spines. In early summer large, light beige, branched inflorescences extend past the leaves growing 7-10 feet long. These hold clusters of small whitish flowers that mature into 1/2 in black berries.

Umbrella Tree (Octopus Tree, Ivy Palm, Octopus Tree, Schefflera, Brassaia)

Schefflera actinophylla is native to New Zealand, New Guinea and Java, and is an introduced tree here in Hawaii. It is also seen indoors as a houseplant all over the world. It grows fast to 50 feet in height, and has large shiny medium green leaves held in groups of seven compound leaves. Mature trees in full sun develop showy red flowers in the summer. Unfortunately, the tree is a nuisance tree in Hawaii and elsewhere in that it seeds very easily (helped along by fruit-loving birds) and grows in unwanted places, its roots are invasive, and it sheds leaves constantly. Many of the steep hillsides as well as wet lowland habitats in Iao Valley and elsewhere have been taken over by Schefflera. The roots are incredibly strong and known to damage house foundations, pools, plumbing and other infrastructure. Find Schefflera in back of our Reception Building along the Maui Parkshore fence line. Note the invasive roots!

Traveler's Palm (Traveler's Tree)












A member of the Strelitziaceae family (the bird-of-paradise family), the Traveler's Palm has evergreen foliage and unusual foliage flowers that attracts birds. It truly is one of nature's most distinctive and remarkable plants. Not a true palm, it has been described as being part banana plant and part palm tree. The traveler's palm is unique in nature and is monotypic, meaning it is the only species in its genus. Its long petioles (leaf stems) and deep green leaves resemble those of the banana and extend out from the trunk like the slats of a giant hand fan. The leaves range up to 10 feet long and from 12-20 inches in width. When the plant is young, the trunk is subterranean trunk which, in the adult plant, emerges above ground elevating the symmetrical, while in the adult tree, the crown ranges from 30-60 feet. Multitudes of small creamy white flowers compose an inflorescence up to 12 inches long. A mature traveler's palm may bloom year round and produce brown fruits that contain light blue seeds.

Ravenala madagascariensis endemic to the secondary forests on the island of Madagascar off the coast of east Africa in the Indian Ocean. It tolerates sandy and clayey soils with good drainage, and thrives in rich, moist and loamy soils. It thrives and grows best in full sun but also grows well in part sun/shade. It is propagated by seeds or by division and replanting of the attractive clumps (or suckers) formed at the base of the plant. It makes a superb accent plant as long as it is shielded from strong winds.

Banana (Bananier Nain, Canbur, Curro)

Edible bananas (Musa paradisiaca) in the Indo-Malaysian region reaching to northern Australia. The word "banana" comes from the Arabic word for "finger." Bananas grow in "hands" (bunches) that resemble fingers that grow together in long rows. Many ancient cultures gave the banana God-like powers, Early Hawaiians believed that the banana tree was the embodiment of the God Kanaloa who came from Tahiti.

Bananas are not really trees, but herbs. The root system, called a corm, produces stalks that mature in about 18-24 months, produces fruit, and then dies. "Keiki" banana stalks continually pop up. As soon as the first hand turns yellow, the fruit is harvested and allowed to ripen at room temperature. When the Polynesians ventured to Hawaii, they brought with them three or four varieties. From these varieties, they developed over 50 different varieties, but they never used as a staple food source. Bananas were too sacred. Often, the stalk was used as a substitute for men in a human sacrifice. Under punishment with death, women couldn't touch the sacred fruit till the abolition of the taboo in 1819.

Hawaii leads the United States in banana production, growing well over 13 million pounds of the fruit yearly. Sixty percent of the Big Island's production come from the two plantations owned by Richard Ha, on the East Coast of Hawaii in Keeau and Pepeekeo. Hawaii's bananas, called apple bananas because of their slight apple-like scent, are sweet, short, and fat. They have a slight tang and they stay firm for a long while. Bananas can be fried in butter, baked green, eaten raw, or made into delicious bread pudding. One word of warning: the super sticky resin stains clothing permanently.


Tulipwood (Tulip Lancewood)


Harpullia pendula is a small to medium sized rainforest tree from Australia, where it is commonly planted as a street or ornamental tree.The tree's small size, pleasant form and attractive fruit ensures its popularity. Tulipwood occurs in various types of rainforest, by streams or dry rainforests on basaltic or alluvial soils. Its wood is excellent for turnery and cabinet-work as it is fine grained, tough, heavy and durable.


Tulipwood is a medium sized tree, up to 80 feet tall, but it is usually seen much smaller. It has an attractive and shapely crown. The trunk with its scaly, gray bark s irregular in shape, often fluted. It is noted for its widely spreading crown, and bears white flowers in spring followed by yellow/orange seed capsules in winter.


Its bark and seeds are sometimes used to prevent leech bites, and its oil from the seed is used as an anti-rheumatic. It is said that its finely chopped leaves can be placed in streams to kill fish. You may find a row of tulipwood trees in front of Building Nine at the driveway.


Hala Tree (Thatch Screwpine, Pandanus))


Pandanus tectorius is a very important tree to the Hawaiiams as they used the entire tree in a variety of ways. The leaves were woven into mats, baskets, pillows, outrigger canoe sails, grass skirts, hats and thatch roofing materials. The segments of the fruit were used as paint brushes and for food. Leis have also been made from sections of the fruit, and the wood has been used for water pipes, posts, and calabashes. The pollen of the male flower was used to preserve feathers and leis. The fruit can be eaten raw or cooked and is a major source of food in Micronesia. The fiber of the fruit can be used as dental floss.The seeds float on ocean currents, which accounts for the fact that the tree is found throughout the Pacific. Most likely the seeds arrived in Hawaii by that method before the first settlers. The Hala Tree is quite distinctive looking. Each tree, which can grow to 40 feet tall, has thick aerial prop roots that spread out into the ground. There are male and female versions of the Hala Tree. The fronds of each have long bent leaves and the female produces an 8 inch pineapple looking fruit in the center of the fronds. Male flowers rate small and fragrant and form clusters of racemes while female flowers resemble pineapples.

Hawaiian folklore states that the Hala Tree is a direct result of Pele's rage, whose canoe on her first landing ashore got entangled in the roots and sharp-edged leaves. In her anger, she ripped the tree into pieces and threw them across the island. At every place where a piece landed on the ground, it sprouted, happy and wise.

The Hala Tree grows from sea level to about 2,000 feet elevation.  It thrives in full sun, but can adapt to part shade. You may find a beautiful Hala Tree near the waterfall.

Red Flowering Jatropha (Peregrina, Spicy Jatropha)

Red Jatropha Tree

Jatropha integerrima "Peregrina" is a slender-stemmed, multi-trunked tropical evergreen tree or large shrub, a native of Cuba. It reaches 10-15 feet in height with an equal symmetrical spread, and has unusual seven-inch-long leaves varying in shape from oblong, fiddle-shaped, or even-lobed. The one-inch-wide showy red flowers are produced year-round in beautiful clusters held upright above the foliage and helps make Fire-cracker an interesting specimen plant. The foliage and the seed capsules are toxic. It may be used as a specimen, adjacent to a deck or patio, a container or planter, or trained as a standard. The crown shape is vase or round, with an open density. The male and female flowers grow in separate bloom clusters, either at different times or on different parts of the same tree. The flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies. 

Find this small tree south of the waterfall in front of the pool building; three new trees have been planted across the sidewalk from the waterfall, adjacent to the dry stream bed. There is also a newly planted tree in back of the Reception Building at the Pikake Room deck.


Technically, the papaya is not a tree but a herbaceous, fast-growing shrub.The plant blooms continuously throughout its adult life. Although papayas have a reputation of being short-lived, our papayas have been around for years. The principle cause of the plant demise is root rot, which can be easily avoided in our Kihei desert. The papaya grows best in tropical and subtropical climates where the maximum and minimum temperatures all year stay between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and the annual rainfall is well over 40 inches. There are two types of papaya trees: Hawaiian and Mexican. The Hawaiian variety is what is planted at Kamaole Sands. The fruit of the Hawaiian Papaya is typically found in supermarkets. The fruits weigh about a pound, and have a yellow skin when ripe. The flesh is bright orange with seeds in the center. The fruit contains papain which helps digestion and is used to tenderize meat. The edible seeds have a spicy flavoir somewhat reminiscent of black pepper.

Plant a papaya on a mound where there is reflected heat and as little wind as possible. If the plant is in the shade, the fruit is rarely sweet. Our papaya may be found at the end of Building Eight and the north end of the Pool Recreational Area.

Shrubs of Kamaole Sands     Epiphytes of Kamaole Sands