Magnificent Monkeypods

One of the trees you will see most frequently in Hawaii is the Monkeypod tree, although it is listed as a pest to the Hawaiian ecosytstem. The trees are native to "tropical America" and can grow to heights of 80 feet.

In South and Central America, the most widely used common name for the species is raintree, from the belief that the tree produces rain at night. The leaflets close up at night or when under heavy cloud cover, allowing rain to pass easily through the crown. The Hawaiian common name, monkey-pod, is a logical derivation of the scientific name Pithecellobium (monkey earring in Greek).

The best thing about them is their wide, symmetrical canopy. They are not only gorgeous to look at but they give the most marvelous shade. They line the medians of our streets in Kailua, and many of us have them in our backyards. The one in my backyard droops over the canal that runs by my house, from the mountains to the sea. It is lovely and lazy looking and without it our backyard would be nothing. Because of it, our backyard is a glorious place.

Monkeypod trees are just one of the many things that make Hawaii the most beautiful place in the world. If you haven't visited, you really ought to come and see them.

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