ʻOhia mai ā pau pono nā ʻike kumu o Hawaiʻi – gather up every bit of the basic knowledge of Hawaiʻi.
Hawai’i’s beloved ʻōhiʻa lehua trees are under attack by a fungal disease that has been spreading throughout south east Hawai’i . It has the potential to kill the trees statewide.
We have many of the trees growing on our property. We have both the common red blossom tree and the rare yellow blossom tree. Already, thousands of acres of the trees have died, and there doesn’t seem to be nothing to stop the spread of the fungus.
The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources has some useful information about what the fungus is and how to prevent the spread. Called Ceratocystis wilt, the university has plotted a map where the fungus has spread.
The ʻōhiʻa lehua trees are native only to Hawai’i and must be protected. So far, our trees have been spared, but I fear it’s only a matter of time before the fungus reaches our trees.
I took this Arial photo of the ʻōhiʻa forest in my neighborhood. You can see where the lush green is being replaced with a grayish brown color. It will be very sad should the forest die and we lose another indigenous species to the islands.