Wet Forest
High elevation and more than 100 inches of rainfall a year are the physical ingredients for the wet forest, or wao akua. These would have been the most common native plants in that ecosystem: Wet Forest uses plant photos courtesy of the UH Botany Dept. Descriptive text is taken from How to Plant a Native Hawaiian Garden - an on line handbook. It also relies on Feathered Gods and Fishhooks by Patrick V. Kirch.
Hame - endemic
'Ohi'a Lehua - `Ohi`a lehua wood is extremely hard, reddish, takes a fine polish but is difficult to cure. Hawaiians used the wood for tools, weapons and images. Endemic to all the main islands except Kaho`olawe and Ni`ihau.
Olapa -endemic. The leaves of the olapa move gracefully with the slightest breeze, like hula dancers. Ho'awa - eight different endemic species.
Loulu - A total of 19 loulu have been tentatively identified as endemic to the Hawaiian Islands.
'Ohe - one of five endemic species.
Hapu'u - the most common endemic tree fern in Hawai`i. Found on most islands in semi-dry to wet forests, it is most conspicuous on Hawai`i where it grows in close association with `Ohi`a lehua. During ancient times, pulu (tree-fern silk) was used for dressing wounds and for embalming. The starchy centers of hapu'u trunks, cooked in the imu (earth oven), are famine food.
The animals that successfully dispersed to the ahupua'a of Nawiliwili Bay began their adaptive radiation (changing to survive different ecosystems) in the kaha kai (coastal zone), the kula (lowland dry and mesic forest), and the wao akua (wet forest). They became the native animals of this area.
Created June 2001