Types of Trees
The Koa wood tree is favored for its great value and was traditionally used to furnish Hawaiian housing. Koa mostly grows on the island of Hawaii and is an endangered resource as well as native to the islands. Even though it is found on all the Hawaiian Islands, it grows the best on Hawaii's, or the big island's, slopes between 4,000 to 7,000 feet elevation. The terrain where these trees are mostly found, is very difficult to enter.
Accessing these trees is one reason why Koa wood sells for between 7 to 10 times as much as other, more common, hardwood.
Some Koa trees grow more than 100 feet tall with 6 ft. (diameter) trunks.
The Ulu (breadfruit) tree is appreciated for it's fruit and wood. It reaches 85 ft. tall, and often has a trunk 2 to 6 ft (diameter).
The ulu tree can be found widely spread through out the Pacific area because of migrating Polynesians.
Hawaiians believed that it was brought from the Samoan island of Upalu to Oahu in the 12th Century A.D.
The wood is yellow-gray with dark speckles of orange.
Ulu wood is light weight; not very hard, but strong, elastic and termite resistant. It is used for making furniture as well as surfboards.
The Wiliwili tree is found near sea level, mostly on the leeward side of the Hawaiian islands and is not known to have been introduced anywhere else.
It ranges in height 15-30 ft and sometimes 50 ft tall.
The trunks are short thick twisted and have some thorns and leaves.
Wiliwili wood is the lightest of Hawaiian wood. It is mainly used for surfboards, fish net floats, and Outriggers canoes (using Wiliwili for canoes was later abandoned because the old Hawaiians believed that sharks followed the Wiliwili wood).