Native Hawaiian Plant Month Day 3: Koa
Welcome to Lā ʻEkolu (Day Three) of ka Mahina Lāʻau Kamaʻāina! (Native Hawaiian Plant Month). In case you forgot what we are up to this month, click here for a refresher!
Lā ʻEkolu (Day 3): Koa
Koa (Acacia koa) is an endemic Hawaiian tree that can be found in the dry-wet forests on all the Hawaiian Islands except Ni’ihau and Kaho’olawe. See those sickle-shaped leaves on the Koa tree? They’re actually extensions of its stems – not leaves at all! Only keiki (baby) Koa trees have true leaves, but they shed them when they mature. Koa is probably most famous for its beautiful wood, often used for making furniture and jewelry, but this plant can do so much more!
It’s keiki leaves can be used to induce sleep, and its bark can be used for dye as well. Not to mention, they provide wonderful shade when used in landscaping and are super easy to maintain!
If youʻd like to learn how to illustrate Wiliwili, click here.
If youʻd like to see all of our collective content for Native Hawaiian Plant Month, click here.
To get in the Lāʻau Kamaʻāina spirit this month, make sure you check us out at our Merrie Monarch Pop Up at the Grand Naniloa Hotel, (4/12 – 4/15 from 10am – 3pm), where we’ll be selling our newest creations featuring endemic species like palapalai, ilima, naupaka and several Hawaiian birds. At *this event only* we’ll have thrifted jean jackets with Naupaka, ilima, and mamane (to name a few) - inspired fabric that was featured in our MAMo Weareable Art show! (Super limited stock so run, don’t walk!) If you can’t make it to Hilo, no worries beef curries! You can still get your Naupaka on with our Naupaka Vinyl Stickers, available here on our website.
Stay tuned for more Lāʻau Kamaʻāina fun!
Mahalo for the resource used for this article:
1. Bishop Museum. “Online Database.” Bishop Museum - Ethnobotany Database, Bishop Museum, http://data.bishopmuseum.org/ethnobotanydb/ethnobotany.php?b=list&o=1.
2. “Hui Ku Maoli Ola - Transforming Land Back To ‘Āina.” Hui Ku Maoli Ola Native Plant Nursery, Hui Ku Maoli Ola,