‘Iliahi (Santalum haleakalae)

Hawaiian name: ‘Iliahi (Lā‘au ‘ala)
Botanical name: Santalum haleakalae var. haleakalae
Family: Santalaceae (Sandalwood Family)
Status: Endemic, Rare
Where found: Maui
Water/Light: Dry, with full sun exposure
Elevation range: 5,000 to 9,000 feet
Height: Up to 30 feet, with an 8 foot spread

*Photo courtesy of Jupiter Nielsen

Notes: This species of ‘iliahi (Sandalwood) is known as lā‘au ‘ala, and is found only on the slopes of Haleakalā, Maui. It produces beautifully fragrant red and white flowers which are prized for lei making. A kapa dye can be made with its dark purple, olive-like fruits. Early Hawaiians used the powdered heartwood of lā‘au ‘ala to perfume newly pounded kapa cloth. Sandalwood is hemi-parasitic. Underground, its roots tap into the roots of surrounding trees to seize some nutrients. Kulu‘ī is said to be a great host plant for this species of sandalwood. Lā‘au ‘ala is drought tolerant.

*Photo courtesy of Jupiter Nielsen

From Work Done by Whit Germano to Catalog Native Hawaiian Plants
MNBG