The History of Hawai‘i From Our Files: Mourning the Loss of Honolulu’s Original Algaroba Tree
HONOLULU Magazine emerged from predecessor Paradise of the Pacific, which began in 1888, fulfilling a commission by King Kalākaua. That makes this the oldest continuously published magazine west of the Mississippi with an enviable archive worth diving into each month. Here’s a look back at February 1920.
Paradise mourns the loss of Honolulu’s original algaroba tree, also known as kiawe, planted by Father Bachelot on Fort Street in the early 19th century.
“Perhaps no other tree the world over has had such a remarkable history or has been responsible for greater benefits,” Paradise writes, “than this original algaroba,” whose progeny covers 90,000 acres of formerly barren lands, producing “an annual crop of about 30,000 cords of excellent fuel wood, over $160,000 worth of honey, and an enormous yield of beans which furnish a valuable fattening food for stock.”
These days, the plant is recognized as an invasive species and a fire hazard. Delicate white kiawe honey still sells for $14 to $18 for 8 ounces from some local retailers.
Learn more about the evolution of covers in HONOLULU Magazine and Paradise of the Pacific: 125 Years of Covers, available at shop.honolulumagazine.com.
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