The hala tree

You've likely seen these trees as you explore Maui.... but what kind of trees are they? And are those pineapples? Now, if you're a faithful reader of my blog, you will know that pineapples don't grow on trees... right?

I spotted this hala tree on Wailea Alanui Drive, near our Palms at Wailea condo
Hala (also known as Pu Hala) trees are, unlike many of the other plants you see here, native to Hawaii and grow well below 2000 ft elevation. They are incredibly hardy and can tolerate salt water.

The scientific name is Pandanus tectorius, also known as the screw pine. They can grow up to 30 feet tall and have a span of 20-40 feet. The leaves are 2-6 feet long and have sharp edges.

hala fruit
Did you know - there are male and female hala trees. The females grow strange-looking fruit (technically edible, but I'm told not great-tasting). The males are quite rare and have beautiful fragrant flowers that can be used in stunning flower arrangements.

Hala trees root structure
Hala trees played a very important role in Hawaiian history - many parts of these trees were used for everything from food to medicine, home building to leis. Do take a moment to google 'hala trees' for some interesting reads (I liked this Native Plants Hawaii website). By the way, a hala lei can be very lucky or very unlucky... you may want to look into that before asking where to find one!

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