Help save Hawaii's most dominant native tree species.
The original, the classic and still the best-selling. The ʻŌhiʻa Lehua print (also written as Ohia Lehua) is one of our first Prints with a Purpose. Since starting the brand in 2017 we have created three swimwear sets that feature the ʻōhiʻa lehua flower (yes, we are obsessed) and every purchase continues to support nonprofits helping save the ʻōhiʻa lehua species of Hawai'i.
WHAT is the ʻŌhiʻa Lehua?
The ʻōhiʻa lehua flower is a sacred symbol of culture, strength and beauty for the people of Hawai'i. The striking and showy lehua flower comes from the islands most abundant native tree species, the ʻōhiʻa. Not only do ʻōhiʻa trees compromise approximately 80% of Hawaii’s native forests, but they're also one of the first species to recolonize fresh volcanic rock. They are both a symbolic and fundamental species of Hawai'i.
There are many mo ʻolelo (stories) about the ʻōhiʻa, and if you’re ever looking for something to do on a rainy afternoon we recommend delving into some of the enchanting mythologies surrounding this stunning tree and it's brilliant flower. One Hawai'i legend says that by plucking the lehua flower from her love, the ʻōhiʻa tree, you are separating the lovers and commencing tears of despair symbolized by rainfall that same day. Remember this next time you're tempted to pluck on that morning hike.
WHY do we care?
The ʻŌhiʻa Lehua species is currently facing a devastating population decline due to a fungus spreading throughout the islands. The fungus can kill healthy ʻōhiʻa trees in just a matter of days, giving it the name – Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death (ROD). The fungus has been sweeping across the Big Island of Hawai'i since 2013, now showing presence in every district on the island. Recent aerial surveys have also determined that ROD has been transmitted to the other three main Hawaiian Islands; Maui, Kauai and Oʻahu, all now showing signs of ROD in forested areas.
Scientists and conservationists are working statewide to stop the spread of Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death and conserve the islands’ sacred species. Without the essential native ʻōhiʻa tree, the forests of Hawai'i and many of its species have begun to suffer.
WHO are we donating to?
Your purchase in any of our ʻŌhiʻa Lehua prints returns donations to the following nonprofits playing a vital role in saving the ʻōhiʻa lehua species:
Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death Foundation
Lyon Arboretum Seed Storage Lab
HOW are your donations being used?
Scientists have discovered that certain types of beetles are responsible for transmitting the Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death fungus. One, in particular, is the ambrosia beetle. Donations to the Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death Foundation are currently being used to fund the Beetle Citizen Science Project on the Big Island of Hawai'i. U.S. Forest Service researchers and BIISC (Big Island Invasive Species Committee) staff are working with local schools to collect and identify beetles. The citizens’ contribution of data will fill key knowledge gaps for researchers in determining the distribution of ambrosia beetles and their role in ROD transmission.
Lyon Arboretum’s seed storage lab is continuing to use our donations to support the University of Hawai'i Student Research positions. The lab works to collect endemic seeds from healthy ʻōhiʻa trees and preserve them for future plantings and generations to enjoy.