Hawai‘i Big Tree Competition

–Now accepting nominations for 2018 season! Nomination Deadline TBA 


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. Can you find the next Big Tree Champion?

 December 2016: Five Hawaiʻi Trees added to National Big Tree Registry

Five Hawai‘i i trees stand among the 64 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 champion trees from Hawai‘i, Molokaʻi, and O‘ahu.  

Enthusiastic participation from Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a’s coordinator, Elliott Parsons, has helped locate three more champion trees this year: a Lama, Kāwa‘u, and a Ma‘o hau hele. This increases Hawai‘i Island’s champion tree count to 10 trees. Other islands have also contributed to this year’s big tree registry. In the historic Kapuāiwa coconut grove of Moloka‘i, a former co-champion Niu (Coconut Palm) takes the place of a fallen former champion coconut palm. While O‘ahu finally makes its debut to the competition and crowned its first ever Big Tree champion: a Koki‘o ke‘oke‘o, or white hibiscus tree in Mānoa.

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:

Hau || Kāwaʻu || Koa || Kokiʻo Keʻokeʻo || Kōlea lau nui || Lama || Māmane Maʻo hau hele || Niu || 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

Nominate a Tree
To nominate a tree, contact the Hawai‘i Big Tree Coordinator at 808-587-0164. Be ready to provide the tree height (ft), trunk circumference (in), and average crown spread (ft). Please also know your tree’s specific location (GPS coordinates are appreciated).

If you know of an even larger tree than a current Champion, let us know!