By Nina Wu
Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods of Paauilo, Hawaii, is now offering the rare, endemic sandalwood – or ‘iliahi, as part of its sponsorship program.
The sweet smelling ‘iliahi, found only in Hawaii, was harvested nearly to extinction a century ago. ‘Iliahi are not easy to grow, according to Heidi Bornhorst in "Growing Native Hawaiian Plants: A How-to Guide for the Gardener," because it is often difficult to find the seeds.
It is also slow-growing, with wood that is considered very valuable. HLH does not plan to harvest the trees.
"The simple fact is that because it is so slow-growing, if you are planting it for harvest, you better be planting it for your grandkids," said CEO Jeff Dunster. "And yes, in fact we are planting it for our grandkids, and everyone else's grandkids too."
The Legacy Tree program offers the public the opportunity to get involved in the reforestation of Hawaii through sponsorships. Sponsor a Sandalwood Legacy Tree to celebrate an event, honor an individual or memorialize a loved one.
The sponsorship of a sandalwood legacy tree is $100, with $20 going to the charity of the giver's choice (plus $1 which goes to the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust).
HLH celebrated the planting of its 200,000th native koa tree on the Hamakua Coast of Hawaii island in May 2013 three years after the program was launched. The goal is to plan 1.3 million koa trees. Koa legacy tree sponsorships are also still available for $60 (with $20 going to a charity).
Each tree can be tracked through HLH's Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system, basically a computer signature, which keeps tabs on the tree's growth, maintenance and geology.
Visit www.HawaiianLegacyHardwoods.com or call (877) 707-TREE to learn more.