Hawai‘i Big Tree Program

–Now accepting nominations for the 2019 season!

Please also see the new State Big Tree page here!


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 has twenty-one tree species eligible to be crowned a National Big Tree Champion, listed below. The Champion Big Trees are measured based on a point system designed by American Forests using their height, circumference, and crown spread. We encourage the public to join our search for the biggest tree of each of these species, and to share their stories surrounding these trees. Can you find the next Big Tree Champion?

 December 2017: Eleven Hawaiʻi Trees newly crowned as National Champions making a total of 18 National Champions from Hawaiʻ

Six Hawai‘i trees stand among the 109 newly crowned champions across the nation. Participation from local communities has helped the Hawai‘i Big Tree program locate some of the biggest trees of various species. This now increases Hawaii’s Big Tree count to 18 national champion trees from Hawai‘i, Molokaʻi, O‘ahu, and now Kauaʻi!

Enthusiastic participation from Entomology specialist, Karl Magnacca has helped locate ten more champion trees this year: an A‘ali‘i, Lonomea, Mānele, Nenelau‘Ōhi‘a ai, and ‘Ōhi‘a ha, including the following that have dethroned four former Hawai‘i champions: a Kāwa‘u, Kōlea lau nui, Ma‘o hau hele, and a Pāpala kēpau. Hawai‘i Island’s champion tree count is now 12 trees, the most of all the islands. O‘ahu is home to three new champions this year, a total of four national champions. The Kagimoto family has helped us crown Kauai’s very first Big tree champion: a 42-foot ‘Ōhi‘a ai with sweet fruit. Moloka‘i is still home to our 103-foot niu residing in one of the oldest and most sacred coconut groves in Hawai‘i. A huge Mahalo to those who contributed to this year’s big tree registry, as well as to those who have contributed in the past. 

More information about these newly added trees as well the other seven national champions can be found in the links provided further below.  

Hawaii’s 21 Tree Species Eligible to be a National Big Tree Champion

Common Tree Name Hawaiian Tree Name Genus & Species
Koa Koa Acacia koa
Lama Lama Diospyros sandwicensis
Wiliwili Wiliwili Erythrina sandwicensis
ʻŌhiʻa ha ʻŌhiʻa ha Syzygium sandwicense
Malaysian apple ʻŌhiʻa ai Syzygium malaccense
White hibiscus Kokiʻo keʻokeʻo Hibiscus arnottianus
Hibiscus Maʻo hau hele Hibiscus brackenridgei
Red Kauaʻi hibiscus Aloalo Hibiscus clayii
Hawaiian holly Kāwaʻu Ilex anomala
Kolea lau nui Kōlea lau nui Myrsine lessertiana
Hawaiian olive Olopua Nestegis sandwicensis
Papala kepau Pāpala kēpau Pisonia brunoniana
Hawaiian sumach Nenelau Rhus sandwicensis
Soapberry Lonomea Sapindus oahuensis
Mamane Mamane Sophora chrysophylla
Oʻahu prickly-ash Aʻe Zanthoxylum oahuense
Paper mulberry Wauke Broussonetia papyrifera
Coconut Niu Cocos nucifera
Sea hibiscus Hau Hibiscus tiliaceus
Soapberry wingleaf Mānele Sapindus saponaria
Hopbush ʻAʻaliʻi Dodonaea viscosa 

Hawai‘i currently has 18 National Big Tree Champions
Click to view:

Aalii || Hau || Kāwaʻu || Koa || Kokiʻo Keʻokeʻo || Kōlea lau nui || Lama ||        Lonomea || Māmane || Mānele || Maʻo hau hele || Nenelau || Niu || ‘Ōhi‘a ai ||        ‘Ōhi‘a ha || Olopua || Pāpala kēpau || Wiliwili

Seeking A Champion

The Hawai‘i Big Tree Competition does not have a champion for the following Hawaiian species that are eligible for the National Big Tree Program. Therefore, any tree nominated from the following list will likely be crowned a champion.

Hawaiian Tree Name Genus & Species
Aʻe Zanthoxylum oahuense
Aloalo Hibiscus clayii
Wauke Broussonetia papyrifera

For more tree species, see the Hawaii State Big Tree eligibility list here!

Nominate a Tree
To nominate a tree, fill out the Nomination form, and email it to the Hawai‘i Big Tree Coordinator at Kristin.Arakawa@hawaii.gov. For instructions on how to measure a tree, see our Tree Measurement Activity Guide. If you do not own a clinometer, include a photo of the tree with someone standing at the base of the tree for scale.