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.