What is an Exceptional tree?
2. When was the
first Exceptional Tree selected?
3. How many Exceptional
Trees are there in Hawaii?
4. Which county has the
most Exceptional Trees?
5. Which is the oldest Exceptional
Which is the tallest Exceptional Tree?
is the largest Exceptional Tree?
8. How do I nominate an Exceptional
9. How do I report damage or abuse of an Exceptional
10. Do any of the Exceptional Trees have important
What is an Exceptional Tree?
Trees" are desinated by reason of age, rarity, location, size, aesthetic
quality, endemic status or historical and cultural significance may be designated
by the County Arborist Committee as worthy of preservation. The Exceptional Trees
Ordinance Act 105 was enacted by the Hawaii State Legislature in 1975. This Act
requires the counties, who possess primary control over land development, to safeguard
the exceptional trees from injury or destruction. The listing process includes
submission of a nomination form and presentation to the Arborist
When was the first Exceptional Tree selected?
The year was 1975. It
all began in 1974, when the Mokihana Club, a small but dedicated and determined
citizen's group on the island of Kauai, rallied community support to prevent the
destruction of an exceptionally large and beautiful banyan tree. From this small
effort grew the realization that legislation was needed to protect simliar trees
throughout the state. The Hawaii State Legislature passed Act
105 in 1975.
How many Exceptional Trees are there in Hawaii?
It is estimated that
there are more than 1000 exceptional trees in Hawaii. Currently, there are approximately
259 sites of exceptional trees listed in the registry. Twenty-nine on the Big
Island, 156 on Oahu, 19 on Kauai, 48 on Mauai, 6 on Molokai, and 1 on Lanai. Some
sites comprise many trees. Exceptional trees can be a grove of trees, a row or
border planting or a single individual tree. More...
Which county has the most Exceptional Trees?
Honolulu County has the
most exceptional trees, with more than 156 sites listed. Many can be found in
Waikiki and downtown Honolulu. Most are located on public property.
Which is the oldest Exceptional Tree?
The Orange tree found
in South Kona is believed to be 216 years old, which may earn it the title of
the oldest Exceptional Tree in Hawaii. The tree was planted in 1792 during Capt.
George Vancouver's visit on the "HMS Discovery". Archibald
Menzies, the surgeon and naturalist on aboard the Discovery is reported to
have distributed citrus seedlings to several chiefs. Citrus fruit was known to
treat scurvy, a one time common disease among sailors. On a return visit in 1793,
Menzies reported about a dozen young trees were growing luuriantly in Kona.
Which is the tallest Exceptional Tree?
the tallest exceptional tree is believed to be the Mindano Gum (Eucalytpus
delgupta) located at the Wahiawa
Botanical Garden. A native to the tropical rainforest of the Philippines and
New Guinea, these giants often attain heights of more than 200 feet. It is a useful
timber species, but today only limited logging is permitted. Other notable tall
trees include the Norfolk
Pine (can grow up to 200'), Kapok
(up to 150'), Bunya-Bunya
Pine (up to 150') and Queensand
Kauri (up to 150') at the Foster
Which is the largest Exceptional tree?
are several Banyan trees which receive this award. The trees found at the International
Marketplace, adjacent to the Judiciary building in downtown Honolulu, and along
in Waikiki are equally impressive specimens as well as the trees found along the
half mile stretch of Banyan Drive in Hilo. Forty-five trees were established in
1933. The last tree planting was by then Senator Richard Nixon in 1962. There
are also several notable trees that are known to be the largest individual trees
in the United States for their respective species. These include the Mammee Apple,
Baobab, Queen Flower Tree, Cannonball Tree, Doum Palm, Nawa, Narra and Queensland
How do I nominate an Exceptional Tree?
Contact your respective County
Arborist Advisory Committee. The committee will provide you with a nomination
form and can assist you in the nomination process. A nomination application will
be reviewed by the County
Arborist Advisory Committee. Trees are evaluated on the basis of age, rarity,
location, size, aesthetic quality, endemic status, or historic and cultural significance.
a PDF application for Honolulu County.
How do I report damage or abuse of an Exceptional Tree?
your respective County
Arborist Advisory Committee. Honolulu city ordinance prohibits removing or
destroying exceptional trees without approval from the City Council, except in
emergencies. Violators can be fined $1,000. Pruning requires a permit from the
Department of Parks and Recreation.
Do any of the Exceptional Trees have important historical significance?
of the tees are historically significant and each with its unique story to tell.
Some of these stories can be found in the registry database. One good example
is the Bo
Tree planted at Foster
Botanical Garden. The story surrounding this tree tells us that while visiting
India, Mary Foster, wife of the garden's founder decided to sponsor a yogi instructor
(meditation specialist) to the United States. As a gift in return, the gentelman
presented her with a cutting to propagate of the original Bo tree from Mahabodhi
Temple, which is said to be the tree Siddhartha Gautama or Buddha sat under to
reach enlightenment. The Bo Tree cutting was brought back from India and planted
in the Foster Garden, where it has since grown into one of the larger trees there.
The tree planted on the UH Manoa campus by the first graduating class in 1912
was propagated from a cutting of the Foster Botanica Garden tree. Most of the
Buddhist temples in town have propagated cuttings of this Bo tree.
example, is the ancient kukui
grove at Pu'u o Hoku Ranch, Moloka'i. The five acre, fifty plus foot specimens
form a circular grove and are among the largest in the state. The grove is revered
as a place of special mana and believed to be the burial site of Kahuna Lanikaula.
Kukui is one of the plants brought to Hawai'i in the great transoceanic
canoes during the time of Polynesian migration from the south more than a thousand
years ago. It was of importance in the Hawaiian economy being a source of a black
dye, light wood for small canoe building and a gum for strengthening kapa. The
white, oily seed was strung on coconut midribs to act as candles and used in the
preparation of a condiment called 'inamona. Kukui oil was extracted to burn in
stone lamps and used medicinally as a purgative. In pre-contact days, as now,
kukui "nuts" were fashioned into leis. The tree figures in numerous
Hawaiian legends and proverbs. Kukui is the official tree of the State of Hawai'i.