Living monarchs

Many thanks to my friend Suzanne for sending me this news.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources recently announced that six trees native to Hawaii are national champions in the American Forests’ Big Tree Program.

Hawaii’s six new champion trees are coconut (Cocos nucifera) in Hawaii Kai; kolea (Myrsine lessertiana) at Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve, Hawaii island; wiliwili (Eryrthrina sandwicensis) at Pu‘u Lani Ranch, Hawaii island; olopua (Nestegis sandwicensis) at Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve; papalake­pau (Pisonia brunoniana) at Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve; and mamane (Sophora chrysophylla) at Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve.

The Big Tree Program is a nationwide competition to find the largest trees in the United States that are recognized as “champions” of their species. According to American Forests, the goal of the Big Tree Program is “to preserve and promote the iconic stature of these living monarchs and to educate people about the key role that these remarkable trees and forests play in sustaining a healthy environment.”

In 2012 Hawaii had six champions, including a koa, two coconuts, an aalii, a manele, and a hau. With the six new champions, including a 112-foot coconut tree that knocked out the two previous coconut co-champions, Hawaii is now home to 10 nationally recognized champion trees.

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