The Casuarina Tree is a very striking and graceful tree that grows throughout the lower elevations and coast of the Big Island. While the Casuarina resembles a long needled pine tree it not actually a pine but instead is a type of ironwood.
The Casuarina arrives to many islands as seeds floating on logs or pumice. However, the Casuarina was introduced into Hawai'i. It is considered a very valuable tree throughout the world. The wood makes an excellent source of firewood. The wood is also good for construction materials and for roofing and tools. In some places the tree is used to produce paper.
The Casurina Tree is a very hardy tree and is useful in protecting shorelines from tsunamis. The Casurina can withstand a tsunami wave better than coconut and a forest of Casurina can provide quite a bit of protection. If you are caught in a Tsunami and cannot escape any other way, climbing a Casuarina is a recommended option.
Casurina Trees exhaust the soil under them killing all other plants. However, its usefulness as a tsunami break outweighs its invasive tendencies.
You can find Casurina Trees all over the island - but some of the best examples are on the Honolulu Landing to Kumukahi Lighthouse Scenic Drive.