Review Category : Native Species

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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Research Supports Keeping It Local!

USING NATIVE HAWAIIAN PLANTS IN LANDSCAPING WILL PROMOTE AWARENESS AND CREATE NEW DEPOSITS OF NATIVE FLORA Plant local!  We know there’s debate about how strongly native Hawaiian species like `ohi`a lehua should be emphasized in local landscaping projects.  Often plants are chosen based on availability, popularity, ease of growth and economics.  Here’s another consideration that hits closer to home.  Hawaii’s native plants face a multitude of threats in their natural environments (fueling our infamous title of “endangered species capitol of the world”).  Use of native species in landscaping efforts will not only showcase and promote an awareness of the unique beauty of Hawaiian flora, but done wisely can also create “repositories” of genetic stock.  However, given the findings of our research and related studies on the evolution and biogeography of Hawaii’s flora, we strongly urge the landscape industry to keep native species as local to their source as possible and leave genetic introductions to conservation managers. Hawai`i is an unprecedented natural laboratory for experiments in local adaptation and speciation (the... ...

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‘Iliahi – The Forest Mediator

The ‘Iliahi tree (Sandalwood) is a rem­­arkable, valuable, and fascinating plant that can play a vital role in native landscapes. ‘Iliahi trees (Santalum spp.) are hemi-parasitic and require a host plant to help them grow.  Their shallow roots graft onto roots of other plants through a sucker-like organ called haustoria which enable them to take nourishment from the host (or multiple hosts). That would seem like a big disadvantage for the host plant, but the reality is more complex and there may be shared benefits.  It could be that ‘Iliahi was an essential part of the mesic forests of Hawaii as a unifying element helping to balance resources. Four species of Sandalwood are listed as endemic to Hawaii, including Santalum ellipticum, S. freycinetianum, S. haleakalae, and S. paniculatum.  ‘Iliahi has few insect pests, is drought tolerant (particularly S. ellipticum), has attractive reddish new leaves and flowers (particularly S. freycinetianum), and has a slow to moderate growth rate with ultimate height varying between species and planting locations. Historic records and other... ...

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Kawananakoa Middle School Native Tree Planting Project

Thanks to a grant from Kaulunani Urban & Community Forestry Program and the efforts of Lester Inouye and Drew Braley of Lester Inouye & Associates, Kawananakoa Middle School now has 24 new native trees growing on campus. “This has really been a huge coordination effort between us and the school,” Lester commented, “but I have to say, I’m very happy with the results.” The entire student body (880 students) of sixth, seventh, and eighth graders attended lectures about the importance of trees and training on how to plant trees given by industry leaders from Landscape Industry Council of Hawaii (Chris Dacus), The Outdoor Circle (Mary Steiner), American Society of Landscape Architects Hawaii Chapter (Dr. Andy Kaufman and Drew Braley), Kaulunani Urban and Community Forestry Program (Jackie Ralya and Teresa Trueman-Madriaga), the nursery industry (Rick Barboza), Aloha Arborist Association (Steve Nimz and Carol Kwan), and the City and County of Honolulu’s Division of Urban Forestry (Stan Oka and Brandon Au), during the three weeks prior to the tree planting.  Those same industry... ...

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Mala Ua: A Hawaiian Rain Garden

At one time, rainfall percolated into our island aquifers or flowed relatively clean into nearby water bodies as part of the water cycle.  As our lands have become developed, the installation of impervious surfaces, which prevent runoff from infiltrating into the ground, has changed the way water interacts with the environment.  As a result, less water is reaching our aquifers and an increased amount of polluted storm water is reaching our streams and ocean. Following rain, storm water picks up pollutants such as fertilizers, trash, and sediment carrying these to storm drains which empty directly into our streams and near shore marine environments.  Hui o Koʻolaupoko (HOK) is working to address these issues by installing rain gardens and other low-impact retrofits throughout Ko’olaupoko. A rain garden is a shallow, flat-bottom garden bed designed to serve as a collection and treatment site for storm water runoff from rooftops, driveways, walkways, streets, or parking lots.  Through the process of infiltration and phytoremediation, rain gardens can remove pollutants from runoff before water recharges aquifers or... ...

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Native Plant Initiative

LICH LAUNCHES A COMPREHENSIVE 10 YEAR PLAN TO REVERSE DECLINE Formed in 2006, the LICH foundation has provided educational, professional development and advocacy for LICH and has been instrumental in the development of industry advancements. In just five years, the LICH Foundation has tackled three core sustainability initiatives; LICH Invasive Species List & Guidelines, LICH Irrigation Water Conservation and now the LICH Native Plant Initiative. The Landscape Industry Council of Hawaii Native Plant Initiative is an innovative 10 year strategy that seeks to reverse the decline of native plants by promoting the use of native plants in their original range of distribution and within 30 years to increase native plants in the built environment from less than 1% today to 30%. The LICH NPI strategy includes four core goals: ❖      Increase native plant selection and supply ❖      Foster environmental responsibility ❖      Create greater awareness ❖      Nurture future green stewards Each goal includes measurable objectives and desired outcomes. The four goals include a total of 69 objectives. The objectives include such... ...

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Developing Wilt Resistant Koa

In Hawaii, koa (Acacia koa) is a valuable tree species economically, ecologically, and culturally.  Koa’s natural distribution ranged from lowland to montane areas and dry to wet forests.  As Hawaii’s largest native tree, it provides habitat for many native birds, insects and plants, some of which are endangered and is also the primary nitrogen fixing species in native forest ecosystems. Koa is Hawaii’s premier timber tree and is used to produce furniture, musical instruments, bowls, surfboards, and craft wood items.  Koa has deep cultural significance to the native Hawaiians and was the focal point of many traditional ceremonies.  The resurgence of interest in Hawaiian voyaging and racing canoes using traditional methods has led to a greater public awareness of the scarcity of trees suitable for “canoe koa” and the importance of renewing this depleted resource. With major land use change and declines in sugarcane, pineapple, and cattle production, there is an opportunity and keen interest in utilizing native koa in reforestation and restoration efforts. However, moderate to high mortality rates... ...

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Students rally to submit 10 landscape research poster abstract

It’s two weeks before the conference and there’s 10 terrific student abstracts submitted on landscape research projects. Click the link below for a preview of the 2013 LICH Student Poster Abstracts and learn the latest research by UH students. http://hawaiiscape.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/2013-LICH-Student-Poster-Abstracts.pdf For more information on the criteria for submitting a research abstract go to: http://hawaiiscape.com/studentposterabstracts/ ...

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