Scientists discover possible cause of rapid ohia death before Me - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Scientists discover possible cause of rapid ohia death before Merrie Monarch Festival

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The Merrie Monarch Festival Week begins today.
Scientists say a beetle on the Big Island could be spreading Rapid 'Ohi'a Death (ROD); 'Ohi'a is one of the most well known wood's in the Hawaiian culture, it's flower most used in Hula talking about Hi'iaka and Pele, and covers a vast area on Hawaii Island.  
The Ambrosia Beetle prays on the dead wood, it's dust spreads with the wind and infects other healthy plants.  That's why no one will be allowed to leave the island with the flower.
We talked with Hiilani Shibata, who is the lead cultural trainer with the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association on it's cultural significance and what is being done about ROD now within the Hawaiian Community.

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