ʻŌhiʻa

Metrosideros polymorpha
Ohia Flower 520x390
The lehua, flower, of the ʻŌhiʻa lehua is the official flower of the island of Hawaiʻi

ʻŌhiʻa lehua is endemic to Hawaii, and is occurs on the Islands of Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Maui, and Hawaiʻi and can be found from sea level to over 7,000 feet elevation.  ʻŌhiʻa lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha) is the most common and variable of all native trees. The species name polymorpha, meaning "many forms," is very appropriate.  Probably no other native Hawaiian plant is found in a greater number of varieties than this one. The sheer number and variations of ʻōhiʻa shrub and tree forms, leaf colors and shapes, and floral colors is amazing.  

Several native Hawaiian birds feed on the flowers and seeds, including the ʻiʻiwi (Vestiaria coccinea), ʻapapane (Himatione sanguinea), and ʻakohekohe (Palmeria dolei) which feed mostly on the flowers and insects.  Some forage among the foliage: ʻakiapolaʻau (Hemignathus munroi), the ʻakialoa's (extinct, Hemignathus spp.), and the black mamo or hoa (extinct, Drepanis funerea). Additionally, the coloration of these birds may have served as camouflage, protecting them in pre-historic times from extinct predators such as the harrier (Circus dossenus) and owls (Grallistrix spp.), and currently from the Hawaiian hawk or ʻio (Buteo solitarius).

Reference and useful Website:

nativeplants.hawaii.edu

Facts About ʻŌhiʻa

ʻŌhiʻa lehua

ʻŌhiʻa lehua is an important part of Hawaiʻi’s forests and provides food and shelter for native birds.  

 

New Quarantine Rules

Rapid ʻŌhiʻa death (ROD), is a newly identified disease that is caused by a fungus and has killed hundreds of thousands of trees on the island of Hawaiʻi.  For more information: http://www2.ctahr.hawaii.edu/forestry/disease/ohia_wilt.html

 

On the Refuge

The US Fish Wildlife Service is a member of the Rapid Ohia Death (ROD) Working Group and has provided funds to the US Forest Service and Carnegie Airborne Observatory to conduct ROD work.  Please visit: www.rapidohiadeath.org for more information