East Hawaii News

More Big Big Island Trees Added to National Champions List

May 7, 2013, 6:02 PM HST
* Updated May 8, 10:53 AM
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Hawaii has added six more champions to the ranks of the National Big Tree Program.

The additions, which include a 112-foot-tall coconut tree on Oahu — which unseated a pair of 102-footers on Molokai, bring to 10 the total number of champion trees in the Aloha State.

Five of the new champions are on the Big Island, joining three from the 2012 list.

Four of the newcomers are in the Pu`u Wa`awa`a Forest Reserve in North Kona, with the fifth, a 39-foot-tall wiliwili tree with a 35-foot-wide crown, located not far away in the Pu`u Lani Ranch subdivision in Pu`uanahulu.

That specimen of the wiliwili, which is known on the mainland as the coral bean tree, has the distinction of being the first Big Island champion to be located in a gated community.

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A champion from last year, a 115-foot koa tree, also is not accessible by the public because it is growing in the Kona Hema Preserve on the western slopes of Mauna Loa.

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The other new champions in Hawaii incude a kolea tree, also known as colicwood; a 32-foot olopua or Hawaiian olive; and a 28-foot papalakepau or pisonia.

The sixth is a 24-foot mamane, also known as a sophora tree, which has a crown more than 25 feet across. Mamane located on Mauna Kea provide critical habitat for the endangered palila bird.

Three of the six champions in the 2012 list were also located in Hawaii County.

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The National Big Tree Program is maintained by American Forests, a non-profit conservation group.

The 2013 edition has 777 national champions; there are more than 200 species still lacking a champion.

One of the unclaimed title species is Psidium guajava or common guava.

The register is based on a combination of three attributes: circumference in inches, and height and average crown spread, both of which are measured in feet. The three numbers are totaled to give each tree its total points.

Tree nominations, which must include its exact location and measurements, can be sent to Hannah Bergemann at [email protected]

A deadline for new nominations will be set for this fall.

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