Big Tree: ʻOhe Makai

Big Tree: ʻOhe Makai

Common Name: Hawaiian Reynoldsia

Scientific Name: Polyscias sandwicensis

Range: The ʻOhe makai is an increasingly rare endemic tree of Hawaiʻi, and naturally grows in dry to mesic forest environments from about 100 to 2,600 feet in elevation.

Threats: The Ohe Makai is prone to ants as well as scale and mealy bugs.

Significance: Ohe Makai is culturally significant to Hawaii medicinally and recreationally. Mothers of sick use the fruit of the Ohe Makai to cure their children of pāʻaoʻao, a childhood disease characterized by physical weakness. Children and adults also used the wood of the Ohe Makai to build their wooden stilts called kukuluaeʻo, or simply aeʻo, after the long-legged Hawaiian black-necked stilt (Himantopus mexicanus knudsenii).


Photo by Forest & Kim Starr.