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Photo Credit: Dan Clark

Why Plant Pono?

Planting pono means making wise planting decisions, not just for you and your yard, but also for our ‘aina. Some plants and seeds that are available in nurseries, garden stores, or via the internet can spread into forests and natural areas where they out-compete and replace native plants. This can harm native birds and insects that depend on specific plants for food and shelter. Some invasive species are also damaging to our watersheds, reducing the amount of fresh water available or promoting runoff that degrades our reefs. Other plants may become weeds of gardens, farms, or ranchlands, reducing yields or harming livestock, and making it difficult to produce food sustainably and locally. 

There are more than 250,000 species of plants in the world, over 10,000 of which have already been introduced to Hawai‘i. The vast majority of these plants are non-invasive and not harmful; however, some plants can spread on their own into areas where they are not wanted. Legal issues (federal and state) and other challenges hinder efforts to identify or regulate the importation and sale of invasive plants in Hawai‘i. That's why we must Plant Pono. An overview of the Hawaii-Pacific Weed Risk Assessment, the tool used to determine the likelihood of a specific plant becoming invasive in Hawaii, is available here.

This website is intended to provide information on plants and to promote the use of the Hawai‘i-Pacific Weed Risk Assessment (HPWRA) as an objective, science-based predictive tool. It also provides access to invasive plant experts in Hawai‘i so that you can make good planting decisions. To date, over 1600 plants have been screened by the HPWRA, and all of the assessments are free and available here.

Take a look at these plants that are examples of pono planting choices for Hawai‘i!  There are also examples of invasive ornamental plants that are spreading in Hawai‘i's forests and natural areas matched with alternative, non-invasive planting suggestions.