The timing of winter rain has a powerful influence on the flowering and fruiting of native Hawaiian dry forest trees. On south Haleakalā, the rare endemic tree halapepe (Chrysodracon auwahiensis) typically produces clusters of three-inch long, golden yellow, tubular flowers followed by vermillion red fruits in February and March (photo above). This year however, at Auwahi forest, halapepe trees started to fruit as early as August and have continued until now.
Halapepe, along with `ie`ie, maile, `ōhi`a lehua, palapalai, are the five essential plants that make up the kuahu (symbolic altar of the hula). It's soft whitish to reddish wood was carved into ki`i (images) and has religious significance. Dr. Isabella Abbott, in her book "Lā`au Hawai`i", noted that the branches of halapepe were used at the altar to represent the goddess Kapo.
Come see the fruiting halapepe in Auwahi. Please join us on our next volunteer trip as we head up the mountain to continue restoration of Auwahi dry forest.
Where: `Ulupalakua Ranch Store
When: Saturday, June 6th, 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Due to rough, steep terrain, we REQUIRE hiking boots to be worn that cover the ankle, and unfortunately, we will have to turn folks away without proper boots. We have some extra boots you can borrow but please bring your own socks. Plan to pack layered clothing, rain gear, two liters of water, lunch, sunscreen and a hat. Please clean all your gear, backpacks and boots to leave hitchhiking seeds behind.
Auwahi Forest Restoration Project