Hawai‘i’s Big Tree Competition


UPDATE: Hawai‘i’s newest Big Tree National Champion is a 40 foot wiliwili tree (Erythrina sandwicensis) located in the Waikoloa Dry Forest on Hawai‘i Island. The impressive Big Tree boasts a total score of 237.84 points.


Run by American Forests, the National Big Tree competition seeks to find the biggest tree species in the United States to promote and preserve our tree species. In Hawai‘i, our goal is to educate the public about our native and culturally valuable tree species. Currently the State of Hawai‘i is seeking a champion in twenty-one tree species, listed below. The Champion Big Trees are measured based on a points system designed by American Forests using their height, circumference, and their crown spread. We encourage the public to join in our search for the biggest tree of each of these species. Can you find the next Big Tree Champion?

Common Tree Name Hawaiian Tree Name Genus & Species
koa koa Acacia koa
lama lama Diospyros sandwicensis
wiliwili wiliwili Erythrina sandwicensis
‘ōhi‘a ha ‘ōhi‘a ha Syzygium sandwicense
Malaysian apple ‘ōhi‘a ai Syzygium malaccense
White hibiscus koki‘o ke‘oke‘o Hibiscus arnottianus
Hibiscus ma‘o hau hele Hibiscus brackenridgei
Red Kaua‘i Hibiscus aloalo Hibiscus clayii
Hawaiian   holly kāwa‘u Ilex anomala
Kolea lau nui Kōlea lau nui Myrsine lessertiana
Hawaiian olive olopua Nestegis sandwicensis
papala kepau pāpalakēpau Pisonia brunoniana
Hawaiian Sumach nenelau Rhus sandwicensis
Soapberry lonomea Sapindus oahuensis
mamane mamane Sophora chrysophylla
O‘ahu prickly-ash a‘e Zanthoxylum oahuense
Paper Mulberry wauke Broussonetia papyrifera
Coconut niu Cocos nucifera
Sea Hibiscus hau Hibiscus tiliaceus
Soapberry Wingleaf mānele Sapindus saponaria
Hopbush ‘a‘ali‘i Dodonaea viscosa

Hawai‘i currently has 10 National Big Tree Champions
Click to view:

`A`ali`i || Niu || Wiliwili || Hau || Koa
Mānele || Olopua || Pāpalakēpau || Kōlea lau nui || Mamane


Hawai‘i is also home to the 2014 Big Tree Madness Champion

 “Coco,” a towering Cocos nucifera located at the Hāwea Heiau Complex, has won this year’s Big Tree Madness. During the three-week long competition thousands of people from around the country voted for their favorite Big Tree Champion.  Coco advanced through 4 elimination rounds and defeated the top 15 states before being crowned 2014’s Ultimate Big Tree.