Long-thorn Kiawe

Long-thorn kiawe (Prosopis juliflora)


Considered very invasive and is on the Noxious Weed List.


  • Different from common kiawe (Prosopis pallida), long thorn kiawe can grow as a rambling shrub or tree, and has 6 cm (2.5 in) long thorns (common kiawe grows into a tree and has thorns that are either absent or less than 3 cm (1 in) long.
  • Native to Africa, introduction history is unknown, but first noted invading in 1978. Possibly introduced for agriculture or accidentally introduced.


  • Grows in dense thickets and crowds out native coastal plants, prevents beach access
  • Long, sturdy thorns able to pierce slippers, shoes and even truck tires.
  • Produces thousands of seeds per year, which are carried by water and animals
  • Despite its relative value as cattle fodder, it encroaches on pastureland where introduced (e.g. South America, Asia and Australia) and is considered a noxious weed.

In Hawaii:

  • Kauai: Populations on the beaches of Mahaulepu, Barking Sands, and the area between Waimea Bridge and Kekaha. Populations also exist on Niihau. KISC is working with partners to control populations, although a large population on military property at the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands remains inaccessible at this time.
  • Oahu: Populations along the leeward coast and along canals from Kapalama to Waianae. Not considered eradicable by OISC, landowners are asked to control this pest wherever possible.
  • Maui: None known.
  • Molokai: One recent planting of a couple dozen plants found along property line at beach access to Papohaku Beach. Not currently a control target for MoMISC.
  • Lanai: Presence/absence unknown.
  • Kahoolawe: None known.
  • Big Island: Presence/absence unknown.

For more information, see: