Hawaii State Tree
Kukui, the Candlenut Tree

The Hawaii State Tree is the Candlenut tree, also known as the Kukui Tree. Hawaii is the only state with a State Tree that is not native. It was brought by Polynesian settlers to the islands, and is native of Malaysia and Polynesia.

In 1930, the official tree of the Territory of Hawaii, was the Coconut palm, however in 1959, it was changed to the Candlenut tree.

The tree has white flowers and round pods and grows to a height of 15-25 meters. The leaves are pale green. The nuts, which have a very hard shell, are slightly poisonous when raw, and are flammable - like candles.

The ancient Hawaiians used Kukui nuts to make torches, which they used to light the night. These nuts have a very high oil concentration and burn for a long time. The Hawaiians would put several on a stick and light the first one on fire, letting it burn down the line of nuts . This also became a way to tell time, or how much time has passed.

Traditionally, Kukui nuts are also used to make leis, and the oil is used to make woods preservatives, varnishes and soaps. The oil is very healing to the skin and can be used as a natural moisturizer. It soothes sunburns, and is beneficial for many skin problems.

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