‘A symbol of Hawaii’: Governor declares ohia lehua as state endemic tree

Advocates said the native trees are known to bloom profusely, adding rich color to what...
Advocates said the native trees are known to bloom profusely, adding rich color to what otherwise might be a monochromatic landscape.
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 5:58 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Gov. David Ige signed a bill designating the ohia lehua as the Hawaii State Endemic Tree on Tuesday.

Over the past year, hundreds of school children, teachers and state lawmakers fought for the measure to be passed.

“Ohia lehua is a symbol of Hawaii,” said Ige. They make up 80% of native forests, yet more than a million ohia trees on Hawaii Island alone have died over the past eight years from fungus.

Advocates said the native trees are known to bloom profusely, adding rich color to what otherwise might be a monochromatic landscape.

Ohia lehuas are “a significant component of our critical watershed forests, it is the best species to allow for the recharge of our life-sustaining aquifers,” said Department of Land and Natural Resources chair Suzanne Case.

Conservationists said they hope the measure will be of value in educating residents and visitors about the need to protect native forests from serious threats like rapid ohia death.

The bill passed unanimously and the ceremony concluded with the planting of a young ohia tree on the grounds of Washington Place.

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