Commonly referred to as lama, this native tree is a magnificent specimen for the cultivated landscape, xeriscapes, and habitat restoration. From a distance, it looks similar to Ohia. But the shapes are vastly different. Ohia has an uneven, columnar habit while lama is smaller, rounded, and more symmetrical. From the persimmon family, it produces tasty, bright red fruits with a single seed inside. The liko (new leaves), sometimes flush with glorious shades of red and pink. The small tree is very slow-growing and must be planted in the landscape at a young age. It becomes root bound and weak when grown too long in a container. Once it has established, water once a month during the dry months. It does best in full sunlight but can tolerate moderate shade.
The wood is highly prized, and the fruit is good for native birds. Hawaiians used lama for construction, medicine, tool handles, and fishing. Today, it is highly prized for woodworking.
A symbolic Hawaiian plant: lama means light, leading to enlightenment.
- Cultural significance