Big Tree: Lama

Big Tree: Lama

Common Name: Hawaiian Ebony

Scientific Name: Diospyros sandwicensis 

Year Nominated: 2016

Nominated By: Ann Kobsa 

Height: 53 ft

Circumference: 15.5 in

Crown Spread: 30 ft

Total Points: 76

Location: Keau’ohana Forest Reserve, Hawai’i 

Range: This species is endemic to Hawaii except for Ni’ihau and Kaho’olawe. Lama can be found in dry, mesic, and wet forests at elevations between 15 to 4,000 feet. On Hawaii island, Lama has been found growing in open lava fields as well.

About this species: Lama is recognizable by its bright yellow and red oval fruits. This species appearance can also be characterized by its dark brown bark, pale green foliage, and new leaves, which are bright pinkish-orange. Lama wood was traditionally used by early Hawaiians to build the frames of houses and temples and construct fishing traps. As lama translates to “light,” the wood of the Lama tree was also used to decorate hula altars, build houses for curing sick people, and fence posts marking sacred areas.  Pi’oi, the fruit of the Lama tree, was a food source.

View another Hawai‘i Big Tree Champion:

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