From Common Forest Trees of Hawaii

Diospyros sandwicensis
Persimmons family (Ebenaceae)

Native species ()

Lama is widespread through the islands, especially in dry forests, and one of the most common trees. It has thick oblong or elliptical dull green leaves spreading in two rows on nearly horizontal twigs, small whitish flowers mostly single and almost stalkless at leaf bases, and yellow to orange egg-shaped or elliptical 5⁄8–3⁄4 inch (15–20 ) long.

©2010 Forest And Kim Starr
A handsome small to medium-sized tree of 20–40 ft (6–12 ) in height and 1 ft (0.3 ) in trunk diameter. Bark blackish or dark gray, thick, from smoothish becoming rough and furrowed into squares. Inner bark is pink streaked, astringent and bitter. Twigs gray, finely hairy when young, with raised dots, becoming cracked and rough. Buds less than 5⁄16 inch (5 ) long, covered by finely hairy overlapping

Leaves in two rows, with short brown hairy leaf-stalks of 1⁄4 inch (6 ). Blades oblong or elliptical, 1 1⁄4–2 1⁄2 inches (3–6 ) long and 5⁄8–1 1⁄4 inches (1.5–3 ) wide, blunt or short-pointed at rounded at base, slightly turned under at edges, thick and stiff, slightly curved up on sides from with side veins fine and not visible, red with pink flushes and hairy when young, above dull green, beneath dull light green.

Flowers male and female on different plants (), single and almost stalkless at leaf bases, about 1⁄4 inch (6 ) long. Male flowers have hairy greenish tubular with 3–4 blunt tubular bell-shaped whitish with three spreading and 12–18 Female flowers have and with hairy three-celled and three-forked

(berries) egg-shaped or elliptical, 5⁄8–3⁄4 inch (15–20 ) long, slightly curved on one side to blunt with point from at base is the enlarged cup-shaped finely hairy light green 1⁄4 inch (6 ) long with 3–4 blunt or rounded yellow flesh or dry. Seeds single or sometimes two, elliptical and flattened, 5⁄8 inch (15 ) long, brown.

often are abundant at maturity in late winter, especially February. Mature are sweetish and eaten by birds and people. Immature however, are slightly astringent, like those of their close relatives on the continental United States, persimmons (Diospyros virginiana L.).

The sapwood is wide and white. The heartwood is described as rich reddish-brown with redder and yellower zones, very hard, fine-textured, and straight grained. Hawaiians used the white wood as blocks in their altars to symbolize the goddess Laka, and to fence sacred enclosures. The place name Kapalama in Honolulu means lama fence and referred to a former fence around the school for the chief’s children there. The wood is not presently used.

Widespread and common in dry and wet regions through the islands down to sea level.

Special areas
Kokee, Waimea Arboretum, Wahiawa, Volcanoes

Height 35 ft (10.7 ), c.b.h. 2.8 ft (0.9 ), spread 17 ft (5.2 ). Puuwaawaa Ranch, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii (1968).

All main Hawaiian Islands

Maba sandwicensis A. DC., Diospyros ferrea var. sandwicensis (A. DC.) Bakh.

This variable species has many varieties. The common name lama means enlightenment.

An evergreen tree retains a large portion of its green leaves all year.

stamen -- the pollen-producing reproductive organ of a flower; The stamen consists of an anther supported by a filament.

style -- This is a long and thread-like structure that connects the stigma with the ovary. A flower may have a single style, or several of them.

scale -- A very small leaf around a dormant bud. Also other things that might remind one of fish scales on the surface of ferns, stems and the like.

synonym -- In botany a synonym is a species name that at one time was thought to be the correct name for a plant but was later found to be incorrect and has been replaced by a new name.

cm -- A centimeter which is about 0.4 inches.

Irregular flowers, such as those of the violet or the pea, are often bilaterally symmeteric. These flowers typically have petals of unequal size or shape.

midrib -- The central and most prominent vein of a leaf or leaf-like thing.

mm -- millimeter. About 1/25th of an inch.

corolla -- The name for all the petals of a flower taken together.

alternate -- leaves alternate along the main stem and are attached singly.

m -- A meter is about 10% larger than a yard.

A pistil is the female structure of many flowers. It contains one or more carpels. Each carpel contins an ovary, style and stigma. The stigma receives the pollen which grows thru the style to reach the ovary.

The apex is the tip or the furthest point from the attachment.

calyx -- the sepals of a flower, typically forming a whorl that encloses the petals and forms a protective layer around a flower in bud.

fruit -- any seed-bearing structure in flowering plants. It is formed from the ovary after flowering.

lobe -- Rounded parts of a leaf (or other organ). Lobes bulge out about 1/4 of the leaf diameter.

An ovary is a part of the female reproductive organ of the flower. Above the ovary is the style and the stigma, which is where the pollen lands and germinates to grow down through the style to the ovary.

dioecious -- When male and female reproductive structures are on separate plants.

endemic -- when restricted to a certain country or area.