SelecTree: Tree Detail

KOU
Cordia subcordata

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Photo Locations:

General Notes

This indigenous species (native to Hawai'i and other Pacific Islands) can be distinguished from haole kou (Cordia sebestena) by the fact that it’s a larger tree, with leaves that aren’t as thick and rough to the touch, and fruit that are dry and brown rather than fleshy and white. This species is also evergreen with a brief period of winter leaf drop, not common in haole kou. Early Hawaiians carved cups, bowls, and idols from the soft, beautifully-grained wood, and made a brown dye from the leaves. The pumpkin-colored flowers are used in traditional leis, and these handsome trees are found as abundant elements in gardens, parks, and along streets. Cordia subcordata has a HPWRA (Hawai'i Pacific Weed Risk Assessment) score of -3 (Low Risk), and the Plant Pono link is: https://plantpono.org/pono-plants/cordia-subcordata/.

Native to Eastern Africa, Madagascar, Malaysia, Indonisia, Pacific Islands.

Family: Boraginaceae

Additional Common Names

KOU, BEACH CORDIA, SEA TRUMPET, KEROSENE WOOD, NARROW-LEAFED BIRD LIME TREE, GLUEBERRY, TOU, MAREER, MANJAK, TAUANAVE, PUATAUKANAVE, VAUA ASI, KALAU,

Tree Characteristics

Erect Low or High Canopy.

Rounded Shape.

Has Partly Deciduous foliage.

Height: 10 - 50 feet.

Growth Rate: 36 Inches per Year.

Leaves Ovate, Green, Golden or Yellow or Orange, Partly Deciduous.

Flowers Showy. Orange. Flowers in Fall, Winter, Spring or Summer. Has perfect flowers (male and female parts in each flower).

Few, Brown Capsule, Medium (0.50 - 1.50 inches), fruiting in Fall, Winter, Spring or Summer Edible.

Bark Light Gray, Rough or Scaly.

Shading Capacity Rated as Dense in Leaf.

Litter Issue is Flowers, Dry Fruit and Leaves.

Tree Site Conditions & Constraints

Sunset Zones H1, H2.

USDA Hardiness Zones 10 - 11.

Exposure Full Sun.

Moist but Well Drained Soil.

Loam or Sand Texture.

Salinity Tolerance is Good Inland and on Coast.

Seaside Tolerance is Good.

Pests & Disease Information

Susceptible to Moths.

Health, Safety & Environmental Concerns

Root Damage Potential Rated as Low.

Not Deer Palatable.

Special Uses & Values

Street Tree, Specimen Tree, Landscape Ornamental.

Cite this tree:
SelecTree. "Cordia subcordata Tree Record." 1995-2020. Aug 14, 2020.
< https://selectree.calpoly.edu/tree-detail/cordia-subcordata >

This tree is not part of the SelecTree Nursery Connection. If you would like to see this tree listed, or know of a nursery that sells it, please contact us at ufei@calpoly.edu.