The Kiawe tree.
Kiawe trees are descended from a single tree planted in 1828 at a corner of a church in Honolulu. By 1840, thanks to the seeds collected from that first tree, progeny of the tree had become the principal shade trees of Honolulu and were already spreading to dry, leeward plains of all islands.
In Hawaii, Kiawe is most common on leeward costal areas but it some locations, however, it can be found at 900 feet elevation.
Kiawe, for most Hawaiian, is synonymous with barbecue chicken, ono grilled food, as it is mostly used as fuel. Its wood is dark brown, extremely dense, with a beautiful polish.
If there are many Kiawe trees along the leeward side of Oahu, there is only one, to my knowledge, along Kamehameha highway all the way from Haleiwa down to Pear Harbor, and it’s a 20 foot high tree located near the bridge crossing Waikalaloa stream near Waikalani Drive. I can’t explain why, but I feel much attached to that tree and would hate it if ever somebody would cut it. Somehow that tree symbolizes the urbanization of central Oahu and he stays there like the last stand before the backhoe and front end loaders move in.
Move in they did, but not to build houses, rather to build berms along that stretch of the road. And like a bird that shall not fly away, they cut the nicest branches of that sole kiawe tree for it not to hang over the highway. Some other rather interesting trees grow around that area, namely some Pomelo trees bearing extremely beautifully shaped and colorful fruits as well as many coffee trees.