Common Forest Trees of Hawaii

USDA Agriculture Handbook No. 679 Elbert L. Little Jr. and Roger G. Skolmen, 1989

Currently out of print [May 2010].

This handbook provides an illustrated reference for identifying the common trees in the forests of Hawaii. The 152 species described and illustrated by line drawings comprise 60 native species (including 53 that are endemic), 85 species introduced after the arrival of Europeans, and 7 species introduced by the early Hawaiians.

Links for one-page summaries (.pdf) of information on 152 common forest trees in Hawaii, both native and introduced, are available below.

To find a common name, use the "find in page" command in your browser. Many different trees may share a common name, for example, "ironwood" may refer to several different, unrelated species. Common names in Hawaiian and other Pacific Island languages are spelled without diacritical marks (the okina and kahako, in Hawaiian), as some internet browsers do not support these.

These illustrations describe trees which commonly grow in Hawaii. They are not recommendations. Some tree species, for example Falcataria moluccana and Grevillea robusta, have escaped cultivation and have become serious pests in natural forests in Hawaii. Please do not plant trees which may become weeds in our natural ecosystems. Please see the Hawaii Weed Risk Assessment, Plant Pono, and the Hawaii Ecosystems at Risk page for more information about invasive species.

For photographs of many of these trees, see the CTAHR "Hawaii Trees and Agroforestry Trees" page.

Files are Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) and require the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.

List of species names and common names

Acacia koaia seed podAcacia koa, koa leaves phyllodesEucalyptus robusta logsSyzygium malaccense, mountain apple flowerAcacia koaia leaf and flowerAleurites moluccana in TimorAlnus nepalenses nodulesBishofia Canaga odorataCryptomeria japonica, sugi pine, male coneCunninghamia lanceolataCupressus macrocarpa, Monterey Cypress leaf and coneCupressus macrocarpa treeEucalyptus microcorysE. microcorys logsGliricid sepiumLophostemon confertus windbreak

“Although it is composed of trees, the forest is far more than a collection of trees standing in one place. It has a population of animals and plants peculiar to itself, a soil largely of its own making, and a climate different in many ways from that of the open country. Its influence upon the streams alone makes farming possible in many regions, and everywhere it tends to prevent floods and drought. It supplies fuel, one of the first necessaries of life, and lumber, the raw material, without which cities, railroads, and all the great achievements of material progress would have been either long delayed or wholly impossible."

- Gifford Pinchot

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