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The mamani sophora tree, a national champion tree American Forests added to its National Register of Big Trees (now the Champion Trees national register) in 2014.

Say Aloha to a Special Champion Tree

December 5, 2014
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Imagine this scene: warm temperatures, a cloudless sky and a hot, shining sun.

Looking up from the sandy beach and salty ocean water you see hills with miles of tall trees bearing a plethora of colorful flowers. One in particular boasts clusters of bright yellow flowers, similar to the sun shining down on you. For those of us in the thick of winter’s woes—including some in snow, sleet and slick conditions—this sounds likes paradise.

The mamani sophora tree, or as the natives refer to it as the māmane, gets to experience paradise all year long, as it is a native to several of the islands of Hawaii. In 2014, this special māmane joined the National Register of Big Trees—a list of 768 champions sponsored by The Davey Tree Expert Company. (This list is now referred to as the American Forests Champion Trees national register.)

The champion māmane is a 24-foot tall, 25-feet wide giant located on the Big Island. Its species is recognized for its clusters of bright flowers, golden brown branches and oval leaflets. The tree even provides a home and nourishment to the endangered Palila bird, a native honeycreeper.

The māmane tree exists on most of Hawaii’s high islands, which originate from volcanic activity. It can grow at elevations ranging from 1,400 to 10,000 feet and among dry forest areas with low amounts of water and soil nutrients. Māmane trees are also wind firm, meaning they are sturdy and prepared for the islands’ high winds.

Whether you are experiencing a mild winter with plenty of sunshine or trudging through inches of snow, you’ll love to daydream about relaxing on a paradise island, adorning the flowers of the beautiful champion māmane tree from a lei around your neck.

Tell us about your favorite national champion tree in the comments below!

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