The Green Leaf

Hawaii's big tree champions

May 22nd, 2012
Coconut tree in Molokai is one of nation's Big Tree winners. DLNR Photo.

Coconut tree in Molokai is one of nation's Big Tree champions. DLNR Photo.

Hawaii is home to six big tree champions, which are now recognized by the National Register of Big Trees, a nonprofit conservation organization that advocates for the protection and expansion of America's forests.

And (drum roll), the six big tree champions are:

* Acacia Koa in Kona Hema Preserve, Hawai‘i
* Two Coconut in Kapuaiwa Coconut Beach Park, Moloka‘i
* Hau tree at Hulihe‘e Palace, Hawaii
* ‘A‘ali‘i at Maui Nui Botanical Gardens, Maui
* Manele/Soapberry at Bird Park/Kipuka Puaulu, Volcano National Park, Hawaii

All of the trees, with the exception of the koa, are accessible to the public. Click here for a map and photos of the trees.

“With forests covering approximately 749 million acres in the U.S., it’s a special honor to have a tree recognized as the biggest of its kind,” said Paul Conry, Administrator of the Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW). “In a year with 14 different billion-dollar weather disasters, America’s biggest trees proved that they’re survivors. For trees to grow bigger than their competition, it usually means that they’ve been protected and nurtured over the years. And, they’ve been lucky. Having grown into large, healthy trees, they now do their own job of protecting and nurturing the plants, trees, wildlife and even humans in their habitats.”

Since more than half of Hawaii's original forest has been lost, immediate action is needed to protect the trees and forests that are essential to Hawaii's water supply and provide many other benefits. Learn about the state's plan to save Hawaii's forests at, which also includes a short video, “The Rain Follows the Forest.”

“We hope that including Hawai‘i on the national Big Trees register will help educate and encourage conservation of our native and culturally important trees,” said Sheri Mann, DOFAW Cooperative Resource Management Forester. “It is our goal to eventually create our own State of Hawai‘i Big Trees Program.”

Anyone can nominate a big tree for recognition in the program. Currently, 21 species are eligible in Hawaii.

To nominate a tree, three measurements are needed: Trunk Circumference (inches), Height (feet), and Average Crown Spread (feet). These are combined to assign the tree a score. DOFAW staff also needs to know the exact location to verify any candidates.

To learn more about the specific measuring requirements please review the guidelines at the American Forests website.

Please send measurements, GPS coordinates or specific directions to a candidate big tree to:

Sheri Mann, CRMF
1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 325
Honolulu, HI  96813

Or email her at

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