Molokai Kiawe Forest
Photograph - Photographic Print
Very little of the forests of Molokai are of native trees. Much of the drier west side was planted with kiawe. Kiawe is native to dry areas of Peru, Ecuador and Columbia and is a species of mesquite. The tree can grow as shrubs or can reach up to 60 feet tall, as is the case of the tree in the center of this image. Kiawe wood is used to smoke meat due to its fragrant smoke and flavors the meat deliciously. Kiawe is not much liked in Hawai'i as it is covered with unbelievabley sharp and sometimes up to 6 inch long thorns. If one walks in areas where they grow, the thorns can easily piece even the heaviest boots and cause injury.
It is unknown exactly when the trees were brought to Hawai'i or why. Some people believe missionaries brought them and planted them to force Hawaiians to wear shoes. It is known that large acreages of dry land where little grows were planted with kiawe in the 1800s as cattle graze. Sadly, the double environmental damage was widespread from kiawe becoming incredibly invasive and extreme damage by the cattle done to any native plants.
This area has a wash, that every time I have visited Molokai in the past has been completely dry. Prior to being there on this trip, several days of torrential rain had left a still-running stream and small pond. While a true pest to the landscape, large Kiawe trees are quite beautiful.
Featured in the following FAA group galleries:
* A Tree or Trees in Black & White
* Off the Beaten Path
* Creative Black & White Photography
June 13th, 2020
Viewed 86 Times - Last Visitor from Cupertino, CA on 09/19/2020 at 8:44 AM