Dr. Joseph Rock, Ficus Benjamina Comosa, and Starbucks

The University of Hawai‘i at Manoa’s Campus Center has a Starbucks, and within this familiar store is something quite extraordinary: wood from the century-old tree that was cut down in August 2010 to make way for the student recreation center. Shown below is a picture of the panel mounted on the wall of the store; the text reads

The Ficus Benjamina Comosa, indigenous to Eastern India, was planted by renowned botanist Dr. Joseph Rock within the Young Engineering Quad and was part of the historic Sinclair Grove which included plantings from around the world dating from 1907 to 1940. There are eight other Ficus Benjamina Comosa trees that grow unrestricted at Lyon Arboretum. Six cuttings from the UH Manoa campus tree were made for propogation and to preserve this tree before it was removed to build the student recreation center in 2010. Seven logs were also saved and its wood used to create the main counter facade of this Starbucks. The wood was milled by C. Barton Potter, one of the founders of the Honolulu Forest Industry Association and Hawaii’s Woodshow. Thorben Wuttke and Doug Gordon of Honolulu Furniture Company completed the paneling for the Starbucks’ counter.


Elsewhere on this site you can read about the tree and people’s attempts to save it from destruction by the University of Hawai‘i administration. Here is a picture of what now stands in place of the tree.

IMG_0614-EDITEDAnd here is a picture of the tree while it was alive.



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