Keith Weiser PhD Leads Research Efforts to Crush the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle in Hawai’i

by Keith Weiser, Ph.D. Something has been munching on Oahu’s palm trees and UH researchers are testing some innovative approaches to stop it. The coconut rhinoceros beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros) AKA CRB was found on Oahu for the first time in December of 2013 and a multi-agency response has been combating the invasive insect to eradicate it from Hawai’i. This native of Southeast Asia lays eggs in decaying plant material like mulch or compost and the eggs hatch into larvae that feed on the decaying material. After growing and feeding for several months, the ~3 inch long white larvae go through metamorphosis to become adult beetles. The adults are ~2 inch black beetles with a distinctive horn on their head. The adults emerge at night and fly to palm trees to feed. Coconut trees (Cocos nucifera) are their favorites but they will feed on a variety of palms and other plants including date palms (Phoenix sp.), native Hawaiian palms (Pritchardia sp.), sugar cane (Saccharum sp.), and many common landscaping palms. When... ...

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Olena and Turmeric Research at UH

Dr. Ted Radovich, Principal investigator of sustainable and organic farming systems laboratory associate prof, since 2006 Article by Heidi Bornhorst Olena or turmeric (Curcuma longa) syn. C. domestica, SE Asia, is one of our Hawaiian canoe plants. We have long valued and used it here in Hawaii.  It is a bit tricky to grow and perpetuate since it goes dormant in the winter time. It has very pretty flowers which we call ‘Pua Olena’ here in Hawaii.  We even have a mele and hula about Turmeric.  The leaves are attractive and grow separately from the flowers stalks, which emerge in late summer, after the leaves have been growing for a while. You can use the roots (rhizomes actually) for many recipes.  I grate mine with a micro planer, as I’m cooking and to add to drinks.  I keep the precious and ono rhizomes in the freezer until I’m ready to cook with them. “Poor man’s saffron” turmeric is another name for Olena It is the Base for common English /... ...

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Developing New Selections Native Hawaiian Plants for Landscape and Interior Use

This article, with more photos, appeared in the May/June Issue of Hawaii Landscape By Orville C. Baldos, CTAHR Research Support Department of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences In recent years, the promotion and use of native plants as ornamentals has increased steadily in both local and national levels due to growing awareness of water use issues, biodiversity conservation, invasive species spread, storm water management and the need to provide suitable habitats for pollinators and other wildlife. In Hawaii, the use of native plants in landscaping projects has tremendously increased since the first efforts to promote native plants in public landscaping was passed into law in 1992. Today, native plants such as naupaka (Scaevola taccada), ‘uki‘uki (Dianella sandwicensis), pohinahina (Vitex rotundifolia), O’ahu sedge (Carex wahuensis), ‘ilima (Sida fallax), ilie’e (Plumbago zeylanica) and ‘akia (Wikstroemia uva ursi) have become commonplace in many installed designs.   Despite the widespread use and acceptance of native Hawaiian plants in landscaping, there is still a very limited number of species/selections available at many nurseries. The lack... ...

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A Call to Arms / LFA Hui on Big Island

Hawai’i already suffers from more invasive species than any other state in the nation and remains constantly vulnerable to them due to its heavy reliance on imports.  Almost 90% of our food and a large number of plants come from the outside and provide avenues for their entry.  Once invasive species reach the Islands their impacts are often swift and severe due to our unique, fragile ecosystem.   Governor Ige recently summed up our vulnerability and the importance of immediate action in a single sentence: “Invasive species pose the single greatest threat to Hawaii’s economy and natural environment, and the health and lifestyle of Hawaii’s people.”   Despite these imminent dangers only 4% of the state budget is dedicated to addressing this paramount threat. Similarly, only a very small portion of the public is currently aware of these imminent dangers.   If the introduction of invasive species is left unchecked the consequences will be devastating, particularly in the case of the little fire ant (LFA).  Entomologists who have studied this... ...

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2017 Hawaii MIDPAC Conference

The Past, Present, & Future of the Horticulture Industry   Discover the latest industry trends at the 2017 Hawaii MIDPAC Horticultural Conference & Expo, August 3-5, 2017, at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel on the Big Island of Hawaii! MIDPAC will include a brilliant assortment of professionally designed plant installations representing Hawaii’s wide array of premium foliage and flowers. Also learn from industry leading speakers through their engaging conference sessions focused on The Past, Present, & Future of the Horticultural Industry.   Brian Parker, Senior Live Goods Merchant with The Home Depot, will discuss today’s customers versus yesterday’s suppliers, with an in-depth conversation on customers’ needs and expectations versus growers’ and suppliers’ responsiveness in his conference session, The More Things Change The More They Stay The Same.   Gerry Leider, Vice Chairman of Ambius, will present The Past, Present, & Future of the Horticulture Industry, discussing the drastic changes that have occurred within the horticultural industry, from the burgeoning business of the 1960’s and 70’s to the conglomerates of today,... ...

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