The Hala Tree is a very important tree to the Hawaiians who used the tree in numerous ways. The tree most likely arrived in Hawai'i on it's own due to the fact that the seeds of the Hala Tree float. The Hala Tree can be found throughout the Pacific.
The Hala Tree is very distinctive looking. Growing up to 20 feet tall each tree has thick aerial roots that spread out into the ground. There are male and female versions of the Hala Tree. The fronds of each have long bent leaves and the female produces an 8 inch pineapple looking fruit in the center of the fronds.
The Hawaiians used the entire tree in a variety of ways. The leaves were woven into hats, mats, and roofing materials. The segments of the fruit were used as paint brushes and for food. Leis have been made with the individual sections of the fruit and the wood of the tree has been used to create water pipes, posts and calabashes. The pollen of the sweet smelling male Hala flower (Hinano) was used to preserve feathers and leis.
You can find Hala Trees all over the island - but some of the best examples are on the Honolulu Landing to Kumukahi Lighthouse Scenic Drive.