cover image of mamane


  • ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi: Māmane
  • Scientific: Sophora chrysophylla  

Conservation Status

  • NatureServe Heritage Rank G3 – Vulnerable

Species Information

Māmane is endemic to Hawai’i and part of the Fabaceae family. It can grow in the form of a large shrub or a tree. It can reach a height of 15 m (49 ft) in tree form. The tree blooms with yellow flowers in winter and spring. Māmane plant parts are a main food source for an endangered honeycreeper on Hawaii island, the Palila (Loxiodes balleui). This species is fire tolerant, though it is not adapted to grazing by feral goats and sheep. Wood and flowers of the Māmane tree were used in many facets of early Hawaiian life. Flowers were used medicinally as an astringent and to make lei, while wood was used to construct houses, farm spades, scraping boards, and firewood. Māmane wood was also used to fashion sleds in a sport for aristocrats called hōlua. Competitors would get a running start then jump on the sled headed downhill. The person who gained the greatest distance was crowned the winner.


Māmane is found on all the main Hawaiian islands except Kaho’olawe and Ni’ihau. Most commonly, Māmane can be found in the subalpine areas of east Maui and Hawaii. It is the dominant tree in the high-elevation dry forest of Mauna Kea.


Māmane can be found growing within dry shrubland and in mesic and wet forests at elevations between  426 to 3,048 m (1,400 and 10,000 feet). 


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Plans & Projects


References & Additional Resources

Hawai‘i in the National Big Tree Program » Māmane