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Back Parking Lot Landscaping

In keeping with congregational commitment to sustainability, landscaping for the renovated parking lot was planned with the following goals in mind:

  • Use native Hawaiian species
  • Use canoe species
  • Drought tolerant plants
  • Plants common at low elevations
  • Low maintenance
  • Plants with cultural significance
  • Aesthetic character
  • Environmental benefit

The Landscaping Advisory Committee (made up of Peggy Anderson, Josie Bidgood, Randy Castello, Jimmy Castro, Carol Langner, Ron Murashige, Jim Niermann, Jim Sullivan, and Paula Wheeler) developed the plan shown below that included four large trees and a variety of shrubs and ground cover. Click on any of the labels on the plan or the links below to read about the plant chosen for the landscaping.

Landscaping plan for the back parking lot Gardenia Hibiscus varieties ‘Ilima—not planted Ti plants Areca palms ‘Uki‘uki Pohinahina Mock Orange hedge Palapalai ferns Lignum Vitae tree Kou tree Bauhinia/Hong Kong Orchid tree Milo tree

Plants Used in the Parking Lot Landscaping

The table below provides information on the trees and plants used in the landscaping of the parking lot. Click on any of the pictures to see a larger version of the photo.

Milo tree in the parking lot Milo Thespesia populnea

Milo is a small evergreen tree averaging 20–33 feet in height, with a short, often crooked stem and a broad, dense crown. It has glossy green, heart-shaped leaves and yellow hibiscus-type flowers. Milo was brought to Hawaii by the ancient Polynesians in their canoes.

The attractively grained wood takes a high polish and was used to make food bowls and plates because it would not flavor the food like some other types of wood. The bark was used for fiber to make cordage. The young leaves were eaten. The fruits were used to make a yellowish green dye.

The milo tree was given by Larry and Kiyoko Nitz in memory of Larry’s parents, Harvey F. and Bertha M. Nitz.

Milo blossom
Bauhinia or Hong Kong orchid tree in the parking lot Bauhinia / Hong Kong Orchid Tree Caesalpiniaceae Leguminosae

A species of flowering plant in the family Fabaceae, native to southeastern Asia. It is a small to medium-sized tree growing to 10–12 meters tall, deciduous in the dry season. This is a very popular ornamental tree in subtropical and tropical climates, grown for its scented flowers.

Acetone and methanol bark extracts of Bauhinia variegata has shown activity against some medically important bacterial strains. Kachnar is used to cure asthma and ulcers. The buds and roots are good for digestive problems.

The Hong Kong orchid tree was given by Jeff Lilley.

Hong Kong orchid flower
Kou tree in the parking lot Kou / True Kou Cordia subcordat

Kou is a small evergreen tree with a broad, dense, wide crown that typically reaches 23–33 feet in height. The canopy may spread 25 feet across, often as wide as the tree is tall. The bark is pale gray and furrowed or flaky.

The rich brown wood is easily worked and was traditionally used for carving calabashes and other food vessels, kou wood does not impart a taste to food. Today kou wood is sought after by bowl turners and carvers. In areas where kou is abundant it makes excellent firewood. The bright orange, tubular flowers are strung into beautiful but short-lived leis.

The Kou tree was given by Bill Potter in memory of his aunt and uncle, Mary E. and Donald G. Cope.

Kou blossom
Lignum Vitae tree in the parking lot Lignum Vitae / Tree of Life Guaiacum officinale

“Lignum vitae” is Latin for “wood of life,” and derives its name from its medicinal uses. Lignum vitae is hard and durable, and is also the densest wood traded; it will easily sink in water.

Lignum vitae resin has been used to treat a variety of medical conditions from coughs to arthritis, and chips of the wood can also be used to brew a tea. Lignum Vitae has been used by the Navy and other military applications as Stern Tube and Jack Staff bearings in the stuffing box for destroyers, submarines, mine sweepers, polar class icebreakers and other large ships.

The Lignum Vitae tree was given by Peter and Jan Flachsbart.

Lignum Vitae flowers
Gardenia plant in the parking lot landscaping Nā‘ū / Gardenia Gardenia brighamii

Gardenia brighamii is an endangered endemic species. It is a dry forest species that is thought to have once existed on all the main islands at elevations from 1100 to 1700 feet. Currently, only 15 to 19 individual plants are known to exist on Hawai‘i, Lana‘i, Maui, Moloka‘i, and O‘ahu.

Rock's Kaua'i hibiscus plant in the parking lot landscaping Hibiscus Varieties

Hawai‘i has seven beautiful native Hawaiian hibiscuses. And there are numerous closely related genera. Hawaiian hibiscus shrub grows to a height of 3 to 15 feet tall with a diameter of 8 to 15 feet. Shrubs bloom from spring through early summer with occasional flowers during the rest of the year.

Rock’s Kaua‘i Hibiscus / Ma‘o hau hele Hibiscus rockii (upper left)

White Hibiscus / Koki‘o ke‘o ke‘o Hibiscus arnottianus (lower left)

Red Hibiscus / Koki‘o ‘ula Hibiscus clayi (upper right)

Red hibiscus plant in the parking lot landscaping
White hibiscus plant in the parking lot landscaping  
New mock orange and some of the existing hedge in the parking lot landscaping Mock Orange Murraya paniculata

Also known as Orange Jessamine, this tropical, evergreen plant with small, white, scented flowers is often grown as an ornamental hedge. It is closely related to citrus, and some varieties produce a small orange or red fruits similar to kumquats.

Areca palms in the parking lot landscaping Palm Varieties

Areca Palm Chrysalidocarpus lutescens (left)

This common house plant is native to humid tropical forests from Malaysia to the Solomon islands. The plant produces clusters of stems with arching fronds.

Some kind of palm in the parking lot landscaping
Red ti plants in the parking lot landscaping Ti / Kī Cordyline fruticosa

Ti (Hawaiian Kī) is a plant common throughout Polynesia. Commonly used for food or medicine, thatch and clothing, it was particularly valued in ancient Hawai‘i for its spiritual power. The rhizomes were also fermented and distilled to make ‘ōkolehao.

Pohinahina plant in the parking lot landscaping Pōhinahina Vitex rotundifolia

Native to seashores throughout the Pacific, this woody perennial plant typically grows to a height of approximately 1 meter. It has a sprawling growth habit and produces runners that root regularly at nodes. This rooting pattern allows the plant to spread rapidly. At maturity, it produces blue-purple flowers that are borne in clusters and ultimately yield small brown-black fruits. It has been used for medicinal purposes throughout its native range, but it was not considered medicinal in Hawai‘i. It was used in lei.

Blue-purple flowers on the pohinahina in the parking lot
Palapalai ferns in the parking lot Palapalai Microlepia strigos

This terrestrial fern is native from North India to Japan and Polynesia. It can reach a height of 2–3 feet. The grows in clumps with delicate, arching, and lacy fronds. Despite its delicate appearance, the plant is tough and can survive a range of climates. In ancient Hawai‘i the ferns graced hula altars, and today they are often used in lei.

'Uki'uki plant in the parking lot landscaping ‘Uki‘uki Dianella sandwicensis

This indigenous plant is a perennial herb with blue berries. It grows in clumps with leaves up to 2 meters. In ancient Hawai‘i the leaves were braided for cordage and the berries used for dye.

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