SelecTree: Tree Detail
Photo Locations: Hawaiian Islands
This tree is a Polynesian introduction to the Hawaiian Islands, and is culturally and ethnobotanically important. It is also Hawai’i’s state tree, and widely cultivated as a street, park, and garden tree along roadsides in new developments, in groves on golf courses, and other developed landscapes. Kukui is an adaptable species that requires little special care. Its shiny, black seeds, leaves, and flowers are widely used for jewelry and leis. Oil can be extracted from the seeds for paint, food, burning oil, and a laxative at higher doses. Almost all parts of the tree are important for different medicinal and ethnobotanical applications. Another common name, candlenut, comes from the high seed oil content, which was burned in ancient Hawai’i as a light source. Aleurites moluccanus has a HPWRA (Hawaii Pacific Weed Risk Assessment) score of 12 (High Risk).
Native to Polynesia and South Asia.
Additional Common Names
KUKUI, KUKUI NUT, CANDLEBERRY, INDIAN WALNUT, KEKUNA TREE, CANDLENUT, KEMIRI, VARNISH TREE, NEUZ DE LA INDIA, BUAH KERAS
Erect or Spreading with a High Canopy.
Oval or Rounded Shape.
Has Evergreen foliage.
Height: 35 - 60 feet.
Width: 60 - 80 feet.
Growth Rate: 24 Inches per Year.
Leaves Ovate to Palmately Lobed, Gray Green or Light Green, No Change, Evergreen.
Flowers Showy. White. Flowers in Fall, Winter, Spring or Summer. Has perfect flowers (male and female parts in each flower).
Prolific, Light Green, Light Brown Drupe, Large (1.50 - 3.00 inches), fruiting in Fall, Winter, Spring or Summer.
Bark Brown, Dark Gray, Rough or Smooth.
Shading Capacity Rated as Moderate in Leaf.
Litter Issue is Flowers and Dry Fruit.
Tree Site Conditions & Constraints
Sunset Zones 23, 24; H2.
USDA Hardiness Zones 10 - 12.
Exposure Full Sun.
Wet to Moist Soil.
Clay, Loam or Sand Texture.
Neutral to Slightly Alkaline Soil pH.
Health, Safety & Environmental Concerns
Poisonous Health Hazard.
Not Deer Palatable.
Special Uses & Values
Shade Tree, Street Tree or Screen.
Cite this tree:
SelecTree. "Aleurites moluccanus Tree Record." 1995-2020. Apr 6, 2020.
< https://selectree.calpoly.edu/tree-detail/aleurites-moluccanus >