"...the richest floral section in the
These words were proclaimed by Territorial Forester
Joseph Rock upon his survey of Pu'u Wa'awa'a in his
1913 book The Indigenous Trees of the Hawaiian
Islands. After another century of cattle grazing and
significant changes in forest cover and composition,
wildfire, and feral ungulates, there are still a wide variety
of common and rare plants and animals, many of which
are found nowhere else on earth. There are many
conservation projects taking place on the land that
seek to preserve the remaining intact native sections of
dryland forest as well as to enhance these tracts
through planting by state foresters and volunteers.
Pu'u Wa'awa'a is home to the Hawaii State Bird, the
nene goose, the Hawaiian Hoary Bat ope'ape'a, the
'oka'i (endangered Blackburn sphinx moth), several
rare native forest birds and numerous endemic insects.
Plants here include the Hawaii State flower, the
hibiscus mao hau hele, hau kuahiwi (Hualalai hibiscus),
the lobeliad Delissea undulata, and many other plants
and trees that are unique to Hawaii and important to the
Hawaiian culture. For more on the natural wonders,
view the Biological Assessment prepared by retired
DOFAW biologist Jon Giffin.