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Photo Credit: Forest & Kim Starr

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Photo Credit: Heidi Bornhorst

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Photo Credit: Forest & Kim Starr

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Photo Credit: Heidi Bornhorst

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Photo Credit: Forest & Kim Starr

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QUICK FACTS

  • HPRWA SCORE -3
  • SYNONYMS
  • ELEVATION RANGE Low|Mid
  • FAMILY Boraginaceae
  • PLANT TYPE Large shrub-small tree|Large tree
  • WATER REQUIRMENTS Requires water until established
  • SOIL REQUIRMENTS Tolerates many soil types
  • SUN EXPOSURE Full Sun
  • SALT TOLERANCE Highly salt tolerant
  • DRAINAGE REQUIRED Requires good drainage
  • PROPAGATION METHODS Seeds

Cordia subcordata
(kou, Hawaiian kou, native kou)

Although originally believed to be a Polynesian introduction, fossil evidence found on Kauai indicates that kou was present in Hawaii prior to the arrival of humans. However, it may have also been introduced or spread to other islands by the Polynesians. Native kou is different than the introduced Florida kou, or Cordia sebestena. It is easy to grow and does well in dry areas. Kou trees are relatively small in stature and make a great shade tree. They have orange flowers and non-invasive roots, making a good street tree, although flowers and seeds can create debris under the tree. The wood is useful. Although soft when freshly cut it dries hard and is beautiful; it was more highly prized in old Hawaii than koa because it is easily carved with non-metal tools. Modern woodworkers also prize kou wood. Flowers can be used in lei.

Plant Uses

  • Specimen
  • Windbreak
  • Shade
  • Ornamental
  • Woodworking

Dangers

None