As one of the endemic species in Hawaii, the koa tree is the most advantageous plant on this island.
Therefore, these wooden materials are very expensive in commercial markets. Also, it’s woods are beneficial for building construction as well as the landscape uses.
Moreover, why does the koa plant become very special? Learn more about this magnificent tree from the following article.
It presents some fun facts, characteristics, and various products of the acacia species.
Interesting Koa Tree Facts
Racosperma kauaiense is another name of Acacia koa or some people know it with koa tree Hawaii. This indigenous species is marked from the word Ake that means a woody plant that bears a sharp process.
Then, Hawaiian conservators grow these varieties from seeds to create a habitat for the native birds in the forest.
Another fact about the acacia species is the meaning of the koa tree in the Hawaiian language. Its name signifies fearlessness, warrior, and bold.
Moreover, the plant is a member of the Fabaceae family that looks like the koaia variety.
Since the wood has synonymous with the warriors, the koa tree becomes the main material to create the Hawaiian weapons.
They combine the wood with the shark’s teeth to make an efficient tool for slashing the flesh.
However, depending on a kapu system, people are not allowed to own the koa wood, except for the sovereignty class.
After the death of the Hawaiian king, this rule is abandoned, and everyone may possess these wooden materials.
Almost all islands in Hawaii grow the koa tree varieties. Thus, the wood transforms into surfboards, serving bowls, knives, and other daily equipment for every angle of the initial Hawaiian’s life.
The canoes also use these wooden elements to get easy access for sailing and traveling around the land.
Furthermore, young trees are beneficial for feeding goats and pigs. Therefore, the compact koa forest initially functions as grazing cattle.
Also, you might build fences or privacy screens from this plant to separate your area from other plantations.
This mature plant can be the highest tree that reaches 33 meters tall. Its fast growth rate is about 60 inches every year.
Long Lifespan and Its Fragrance
The species might thrive well in damaged areas with the bother of the ecosystem like soil removal and fire. Interestingly, it has a lifespan of more than 100 years.
Additionally, there is a mutually beneficial relationship between the koa tree with rhizobia. This bacterium lives in the soil and roots to change nitrogen into fertilizer.
You will also find the chemical element in an underlying layer of the tree from the branches, leaves, and flowers.
Due to the existence of rhizobia, this plant becomes more vigorous. Besides, it produces a specific fragrance when the process of nitrogen-converting occurs.
Unfortunately, this ammonia-like aroma has a sharp non-appealing odor.
Acacia Tree Information
The koa tree belongs to a main acacia species list that has a striking appearance. Its grain has various patterns and deep rich hues.
While growing in an area that is rich in volcanic soil, the wood will be red and dark.
A beautiful curly pattern on the flirting cross-grain becomes a rare appearance. The wavy look of the tree resembles a fiddle.
Therefore, the cultivar that has this unique beauty seems to be the prettiest koa variety.
Koa Tree Leaves
The medium leaves of this fast-growing koa tree have rough and loose textures. They grow at a length of 5 to 25 cm.
Each mature leaf that resembles a sickle is named the phyllode as an essential part of the photosynthetic process, whereas the young section is feathery.
At the initial stage, the leaflets consist of 12 to 24 pairs that grow into compound leaves. After nine months old, they thicken to develop an extension of petiole into real leaf blades.
The vertical flat formation of the foliage allows the sunshine to reach the understory of the plant.
Besides, the foliage that features mature leaves with extended petioles has a large canopy spread. It reaches about 12 meters.
The koa tree comes with different growth habits from multi-branching structures, straight trees, or shrubby forms to fit the specific purpose for the landscape.
In addition, other characteristic of the leaves is coming in light and medium green colors. Sometimes, the leafy parts turn into a grayish-green hue.
They develop at a length of 25 cm with a width of 2.5 centimeters as the tree matures. Then, the large size of this section is identified as koa Lau Nui.
Koa Tree Flowers
The koa tree has spherical flowers that are in a simple inflorescence. Each blossom that develops from the short stalks has an equal arrangement along the extended axis. Its size is about 10 mm in diameter.
This plant produces showy flowers that come in yellow, white, and cream colors. Its round powdery puff blossoms start blooming from January until March.
They will turn into seeds that will be ripening from August to October and exist continuously throughout the year.
At the age of 5 to 30 years, the koa tree bears fruit. The production happens when the pods are in the size of 15 cm long and 2.5 centimeters wide.
Each legume consists of 12 seeds. They have flat and ellipse shapes with a deep brown or black hue.
Pests and Diseases Control
The low-growing koa tree usually has a common pest that will harm the branches. It is Xylonsandrus compactus or the black twig borer.
Thus, regular trimming is necessary to manage the infected sections of the plant.
Other pests include whiteflies, mealybugs, aphids, seed weevils, Chinese rose beetles, and root-knot nematodes.
An infestation from the acacia psyllid will also damage the branches and the plant’s growth.
Moreover, koa wilt causes a more harmful effect on the plant’s death. Rusts and root rots also infect the leaves, but they do not result in fatal damage.
Besides, F. Solani and Calonectria are some fungi that create serious problems.
Importantly, if you decide to use pesticides, prevent the roots from them. It is because there is a beneficial bacterium that lives in this area.
Therefore, keep spraying on the upper parts like the infected leaves and branches.
Handcrafted Koa Wood Products
Since the koa tree is so valuable, the woods are easy to transform into any building construction, paddles, tools, crafts, and other handmade products.
Also, the lower elevation functions as shades and fences. Unfortunately, this plant is not edible because it contains resin that gives an unpleasant flavor.
Koa Wood Rings
The handicrafter uses a koa tree to make some attractive rings. Its wood is nice to combine with opal stones in various colors.
Each piece has a unique engraving design that differs from one to another. Then, valuable Hawaiian jewelry will be perfect for giving as gifts.
Otherwise, the koa tree rings pair well with titanium. This fine material is the most eco-friendly metal that provides a very light and comfy structure.
The natural element of this jewel ornament offers a classic look from a traditional handcrafted process.
Koa Wood Watches
Koa watches are some elegant-look products from the craftsmen. The casing and links show the wood grain patterns and pretty colors.
Interestingly, this strap piece is lighter than leather and metal materials. The adjustable bands may have varied natural colorations.
Since the watches are from the woods of the koa tree, they cause a little allergic response to the skin.
The initial color of the straps might be deeper while contacting the natural oils from the hand. Similar to other pieces of jewelry, these products are water-resistant.
Koa Wood Furniture
Most wooden materials from the koa tree are great for creating furniture.
Beautiful, high-quality, and luxurious furnishing items include dining sets, tables, chairs, sideboards, buffets, entry doors, benches, and consoles.
For instance, to highlight the beauty of the koa tree wood, the furniture is combined with mahogany.
This wooden material has a deep rich color that offers eye-catching contrast to this Hawaiian furniture. Thus, the stylish furnishings will provide a traditional touch with luxury.
Koa Wood Guitar
The koa tree woods are also ideal for guitars. This compact tropical hardwood gives sweetness and warmth when you play the musical instrument.
It usually combines with maple for a brighter coloration. Also, its sound will produce more resonant tones.
Moreover, different woods will create various acoustic tones. The koa tree is usually for the tops of guitars that can produce a solid sound.
When the sides and back part use this material, the tonality seems to be similar to mahogany.
Additionally, the high-end koa guitars have a midrange-y quality. Therefore, to produce more acoustic sounds, it is better to pair with some other tonewoods.
They can be mahogany, maple, red or Sitka spruce, Indian and Brazillian rosewood.
Some of these popular tonewoods will produce various tones when they are combined with koa guitars.
Several sounds give a reverberant, loud tonal, or transparent quality. Meanwhile, other varieties offer a more woody sound, powerful, and thick response.
In conclusion, the koa tree predominantly thrives in the Hawaii islands. Its woods offer a beauty look and beneficial uses.
That is why, handicrafters use koa trees to create lots of furnishing stuff, musical instruments, small crafts, handcrafted jewelry, and other decorative pieces.