Authors: Michael B. Thomas and Roxanne Adams
Locality: Manoa, Hawaiian Islands
The most exceptional of the Mānoa Campus trees are protected by The Hawaiʻi State Legislature Act 105, which designates an Exceptional Tree as “a tree or stand or grove of trees with historic or cultural value, by which reason of its age, rarity, location, size, aesthetic quality, or endemic status has been designated by the county committee as worthy of preservation.” Through this act, The Hawaiʻi State Legislature recognizes that “beyond their aesthetic worth and cultural significance, trees perform an important role in maintaining ecological balance, in increasing soil conservation and natural oxygen production, as windbreaks for necessary plant species, and in retarding flooding, erosion, siltation, lateral distribution of air pollution, and noise” (State of Hawai‘i Department of Natural Resources n.d.: n.p.).
Species: 7 (species rank)
Total Taxa: 7 (including subsp. and var.)
Hernandia sonora L. - Jack in the Box Tree
SE Asia, Protected - Exceptional Tree Status, Located between Sinclair Library and Campus Road, this tree is native to Indonesia and the Philippines. It is a relative of the Monkey Pod, producing similar flowers and foliage. The tree is also a memorial to Joseph Rock, noted botanist.
Barringtonia asiatica (L.) Kurz - sea putat
Pacific Islands, Protected - Exceptional Tree Status, Located on McCarthy Mall near Bilger Hall, this tree has broad leaves, large woody fruits, and white flowers that resemble shaving brushes. In some areas of the Pacific, the seed is crushed, mixed with water and thrown into tidal pools or quiet streams to stun fish for easier catching (University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa 2006: n.p.).
Couroupita guianensis Aubl. - cannonball tree
South America, Protected - Exceptional Tree Status, Planted in 1933 by the playwright Thornton Wilder on the makai side of Sinclair Library, the Cannonball tree is nearing extinction in the wild. Native to northeastern South America, the tree is named for the dozens of round, rust-colored grapefruit-like ‘cannonballs’ clustered around the trunk, which crash down to the ground when ripe, releasing a pungent unpleasant odor. When first in bloom, highly fragrant salmon-colored flowers emerge in clusters around the trunk of the tree. These bloom for only one day before transforming into the ‘cannonballs,’ which takes about 18 months to mature (Belknap 1982: 40).
Wallaceodendron celebicum Koord. - Banuyo
SE. Asia, Protected - Exceptional Tree Status, Located between Sinclair Library and Campus Road, this tree is native to Indonesia and the Philippines. It is a relative of the Monkey Pod, producing similar flowers and foliage. The tree is also a memorial to Joseph Rock, noted botanist discussed elsewhere in this Report.
Adansonia digitata L. - baobab
Africa, Protected - Exceptional Tree Status, Located near the Art Building, this tree is one of the largest on campus. Native to Africa, it dominates the landscape with its enormous trunk. Many useful products can be created from this tree. From the fruit comes an exotic drink and from the roots, a red dye. The bark, can be made into rope and medicine (Belknap 1982: 23).
Sterculia foetida L. - skunk tree
Pan-Tropical, Protected - Exceptional Tree Status, Native of the tropics, the wine-red, orange and yellow flowers of this tree emit a strong unpleasant odor. The tree, located on the ‘ewa-mauka corner of the Quadrangle, was planted in 1928 in honor of the eminent horticulturist and botanist, Liberty Hyde Bailey, who was a world-renowned authority on palms. it has an unusual fruit with black seeds resembling olives. (Belknap, 1982, 16).
Ficus elastica Roxb. ex Hornem. - Indian rubber fig
India, Protected - Exceptional Tree Status, Located between Sinclair Library and Campus Road, the Indian Rubber tree is native to the areas between northeast India and south Indonesia.