Uluwehi Native Tree Arboretum

A 9.328 acre lot in the Nanawale Estates subdivision in the Puna District was donated to Malama O Puna by Nancy Duff on 12/31/99. We are in the process of planning a native tree arboretum which will include both indigenous and endemic Hawaiian trees and understory plants. The lot has never been bulldozed and consists of an old a‘a flow whose previous vegetation burned about 10 years ago in a brush fire. The new vegetation consists of an understory of native and non-native grasses, cane orchids and ferns. Young ohia trees up to 15 feet tall are recolonizing the area. Although many of the surrounding lots are heavily infested with mature albizia, this lot has only 2 – we attribute this to the fact that the ground has never been disturbed. We intend to keep that advantage.

Rather than plant individual specimen trees, we will be planting “mini-groves”. There will be a winding loop trail which will meander through the groves, and there will be interpretive signage and detailed handouts about each species. The few non-natives on site will be cut down and chipped for the paths. This arboretum is a long-term project and will require major funding and many volunteers,

We had an HCC student do a GIS map for us as part of her Forest Team course requirements. With this map we are better positioned to apply for development grants and permits. The Arboretum will house a native plant collection and an area for hardening off plants raised in our WaaWaa nursery.

Uluwehi Arboretum logo
logo design by Dana Vitale

Uluwehi means 1) a place where plants thrive, 2) lush vegetation

Arboretum work day journal entries are below:


The following records exhibit collections of Hawaiian plant species, and actions taken to prepare plants to be placed in the Malama O Puna Arboretum in Nanawale Subdivision in the Puna District on Hawai’i Island.

Date and Action:

November 8-9, 2007 Ann collected seed of the following species on her way to Kona:
‘a’ali’i (Dodonaea viscosa) Manuka & Kapapala
pukiawe (Styphelia tameiameiae) K
‘ulei (Osteomeles anthyllidifolia) M & K
akia (Wikstroemia phillyreifolia) K
loulu (Pritchardia affinis) Honaunau

November 21 Ann & Dave visit the Arboretum and plant 10 akia (Wikstroemia phillyreifolia) seedlings (6”-8” apprx.) along Hapu’u & Kona streets. Ann collected the seed from her property in late 2006 or early 2007.

November 22 Pritchardia affinis seed planted in black cinder &
Pro-Mix BX w mycorrhizae.
Dodonaea viscosa seed planted.
Osteomeles anthyllidifolia seed planted.
Styphelia tameiameiae seed planted.
Wikstroemia phillyreifolia seed planted.

November 29 Psychotria hawaiiensis planted from sprouting seed, collected by Ann & Dave at Keauohana Forest Reserve on Oct. 13, 2007.
Dodonaea viscosa seed sprouting.

December 4 Ann & Dave collect maile (Alyxia oliviformis) seed at Manuka along Kaheawai Trail.

December 10 (11) Alyxia oliviformis seed planted in soil from behind Ann’s property.

December 14 Wikstroemia phillyreifolia sprouting.Dodonaea viscosa – only 3 seedlings, poor germination.

December 19 Scaevola kilaueae propagated. 4 cuttings.

December 23 Osteomeles anthyllidifolia sprouting.

December 30 Bidens hawaiiensis seed collected, from Dave’s garden.Upper Puna plants.

January 1, 2008 Psychotria hawaiiensis sprouting.

January 26 More Wikstroemia, Dodonaea, Osteomeles, and Psychotria sprouting.
Pritchardia affinis beginning to sprout.

January 30 Bidens hawaiiensis seed collected. (Dave’s garden)

February 7 Bidens hawaiiensis seed planted.

February 18 Pritchardia beccariana and Hibiscus immaculatus seed collected from UH Hilo Life Sciences Garden. Cuttings of koki’o ke’oke’o were given to Dave by Rene Silva in 1988 from Maui Zoo Botanical Gardens in Kahului. Mr. Silva obtained the plants by cuttings from wild stock on Molokai. Plants were grown out at Maui Community College and brought to Hawai’i in 1990. Three plants were placed in Life Science’s Garden in early 1991. Two have survived. They are the seed source. Loulu seed was collected from the 10.5 mile kipuka on Saddle Road in late 1990, by Don Hemmes and Dave. Several of the seeds grew, and the most vigorous one was planted in the Life Science’s Garden in late 1991. The tree is isolated from other Pritchardia spp. and produces pure seed stock.

February 26 Pritchardia beccariana seed planted.
Hibiscus immaculatus seed planted.
Bidens hawaiiensis sprouting.
Dodonaea viscosa seedlings transplanted; 10 in 3” pots.
Wikstroemia phillyreifolia seedlings transplanted; 5 – 3”.
Scaevola kilaueae transplanted; 3 rooted cuttings in 1gal.

February 29 Fieldwork for Uluwehi Arboretum Plant Inventory.
Pipturus albidus bush donated by Keoni Choy placed in along Kona st. Wiksroemia phillyreifolia relocated; 8 plants found, 3 doing well, 4 disturbed (by rats) recovered with soil. Macherina angustifolia seed collected.

March 1 Pittosporum hosmeri seed planted, from Dave’s garden. Seeds were obtained from plants in Manuka Wayside Gardens in 1994. Plants were grown from seed in Hilo and placed in Dave’s garden in 1997. Seed was collecte in Aug.- Sept. 2007.
Bidens hawaiiensis seed planted.

March 2 Macherina angustifolia seed planted from Uluwehi Arboretum grounds.

March 5 Hibiscus kokio seed (5) planted from plants by new County Building on Aupuni St. Collected on Mar. 3
Abutilon sandwicense plants transplanted to gal. pots from 4”. Ann obtained seed from friends plants in Dec.- Jan.

March 8 Scaevola kilaueae cuttings propagated.

March 12 Ann, Dave, & Mitzi (Habitat Restoration Team) visit Uluwehi Arboretum. Ann injects 30 albizzia and 15 cecropia. Mitzi & Dave plant a mamaki (Pipturus albidus) bush, a variegated Hawaiian hala (Pandanus tectorius var. koa’e), and 5 pots of ‘akiohala (Hibiscus furcellatus). The mamaki is a donation by Keoni Choy. The hala came from Waipa family land in Koa’e. ‘Akiohala seed were collected from the UH Hilo Natural Area in the early 1990’s, and grown in Dave’s garden till intro. to Uluwehi.

March 16 A few Hibiscus immaculatus sprouting. 2nd batch of Bidens hawaiiensis sprouting. (1st batch had good germination!) 14 Pritchardia affinis now growing. A few Dodonaea viscosa soon ready to plant. Most plants in nursery doing well!

March 17 Pritchardia beccariana seed collected from UH Hilo, Life Sciences Garden. A few Hibiscus immaculatus seeds as well.

March 22 Pritchardia beccariana seed planted. Hibiscus immaculatus seed planted. 2nd batches.
Dodonaea viscosa seed cleaned & planted, from Ann’s 1st collection.
5 Osteomeles anthyllidifolia seedlings transplanted to 4” pots.
5 Hibiscus koki’o seedlings transplanted to 4” pots from Dave’s garden. (Plants originally came from the DLNR Baseyard Nursery in the early 1990’s.)

In recent years, we’ve periodically conducted work outings to clear non-native plants and to plant natives.