Kōņo (Cordia subcordata - Boraginaceae)

Description: Kōņo is an attractive medium-sized native tree with a dense crown. It grows to heights of 10 m (35 ft) and has broad, light green, pointed leaves 7-30 cm (3-12 in) long and tubular orange flowers. The fruit are clustered, 2-4 cm (1-1.5 in) long, and turn pale grayish-brown when mature.

Distribution: Kōņo is widespread from tropical Asia to Hawai'i. It is planted by both seed and cutting, and has been reported from most of the Marshall Islands where it grows in the coastal forest and thickets.

Uses: The light, but very hard, fine-grained wood is used in small boat construction, especially as the keel of canoes, to make canoe paddles, and in home construction. House poles made from the wood of kōņo are said to last up to 100 years! Kōņo wood is also regarded as the best for making model canoes. It is easily worked and will not split when a nail is driven through it. The fruit has a small nut that is edible, and the flowers are used for both head (ut) and neck (marmar) garlands. The flowers and leaves have medicinal uses. It is a prized tree due to the high demand for its many useful products.

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