Attractive tree provides sturdy wood
Description: Small to medium-size trees, 5 to 40 feet tall with dark brown bark and pale green foliage. New leaves, called liko, are a bright pinkish-orange and very attractive. Their flowers are tiny, about one-eighth-inch in diameter, and emerge at the leaf axis. Once pollinated, small, oval-shaped fruit about an inch in length develop. The fruits start off green, then change to yellow and finally turn orange or red when ripe. Each fruit can contain one to three seeds.
One of the most appealing features of this plant is its heartwood. Being part of the ebony family, lama wood is hard and can be polished to reveal a deep, dark luster. It is a slow-growing plant, so be patient when you plant it.
HUI KU MAOLI OLA
Foliage of the Lama are bright pinkish orange at first, then turn pale green as they mature.
Lama is an endemic plant found predominantly in dry-mesic valleys and ridges and occasionally in wet forests. It is also found near sea level and all the way up to about 3,600 feet in elevation on all the main Hawaiian islands.
Cultural uses: The wood is used to decorate hula altars, as its name is associated with enlightenment. Lama wood is also used to build houses for treating the sick, as well as fences marking sacred areas.
Landscape uses and care: Lama can be a gorgeous tree if given time to grow that large. It should be treated as a specimen plant for everyone to admire. Give it a lot of sun and not too much water. A good soaking two to three times a week should do.
The only pests that really get to this plant are scales. Watch for them and treat by spraying with pesticide or wiping with fingers and soapy water.
These plants are difficult to find in anything larger than a 1-gallon pot, so please be patient if you decide to get one. They will grow faster once put into the ground.
Also: Another species of lama (D. hillebrandii) is found only on the islands of Oahu and Kauai; both are called either lama or elama.
co-owns Hui Ku Maoli Ola, a native Hawaiian plant nursery, with Matt Schirman. Contact him at 259-6580 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
co-owns Hui Ku Maoli Ola, a native Hawaiian plant nursery, with Matt Schirman. Contact him at 259-6580 or e-mail email@example.com