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This erect, wide-spreading plant was early introduced to these Islands from Mexico. It thrives well in arid lands, and in times of drought its succulent, fleshy leaves and juicy fruit are eaten by cattle. The plants, when old, become hard and woody, having many stout spines. The large Howers are reddish-yellow, and the obovate, truncate fruit is a purplish-red, having a thick fibrous skin, which is covered with fine bristles. The edible pulp is reddish-purple and contains numerous seeds.
G. P. IV. Collection.
The Kiawe deserves a special mention in this book, as it is, in my opinion, one of the most valuable and beautiful trees that grows in the Hawaiian Islands. Perhaps on account of its very general dissemination, and because of the ease with which it spreads spontaneously, even in the driest districts, it has received less consideration than has been accorded to other plants more difficult of propagation.
The Kiawe is the foundation of all the beauty of our lowlands, and provides a delicate background for other plants. Under favorable circumstances, it reaches to a height of 50 feet. It has wide-spreading branches and delicate-green foliage. The flowers yield a delicious honey, and the seed-pods furnish a valuable fodder, and, finally, when the tree is cut down, its wood makes the very best of fuel. The Algaroba is a native of Central and South America. Ordinarily it is a moderate-sized tree of quick and easy growth. Its branches in most cases are covered with stout, cylindrical, axillary spines, and in other cases they are unarmed.
The abruptly bi-pinnate leaves have from 6 to 30 pairs of linear leaflets about one-fourth to one inch in length. The small, paleyellow flowers come in cylindrical spikes. The straight or sickleshaped seed-pod is sweet, and is eaten by stock. Propagation is by seed.
The first Algaroba tree of Hawaii was brought to Honolulu in 1828 by Father Bachelot, founder of the Roman Catholic Mission in the Islands. It was planted in the Mission garden, where the venerable tree is standing today.