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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, July 25, 2003

Need a street tree? Choose magnolia instead of allspice

By Heidi Bornhorst

Q. Our neighborhood recently got one of those "traffic calming" things. We hate it. The little cars just speed up right after and the bus can barely get by. They also planted allspice trees. I think I heard from a botanist that allspice trees are weeds in Hawai'i. Do people in the city care about weeds?

Our neighborhood also has magnolia trees for our street trees, and they match our valley. They're not messy or weedy.

Not calm in Kaimuki

A. Yes allspice (Pimenta dioica), a member the Myrtaceae family, is a pretty tree, but it is indeed weedy, and the city should steer clear of planting it.

Using magnolia as a street tree is a much wiser, more attractive and less-invasive planting choice. With magnolias around, we can all slow down a bit when we drive and appreciate leisure drives under the shady trees.

Those fruiting lychees

It's a great summer for lychees, a backyard favorite.

Ken Love

The luscious, dripping red fruits of the lychee sure are attractive i and 'ono! We are having a pretty good season of lychee this year, and it seems like a long season.

My friend Beth was visiting, and we were so 'ono for lychee that we bought some expensive ones at the store. They were of the somewhat new Kaimana variety, and they were well worth the price (remember we should all support our local farmers).

My neighbor had some to share from her little tree in Palolo. We were recently in Wahiawa, another spot where lychees are bearing bountifully.

The Groff variety is now in fruit. It is a later fruiter and it has rather small fruit, but the seed is minuscule and so you get lots of bite for your buck.

One of the most delicious ways to eat lychees is to peel them and then freeze them (this is a good job for a bored keiki in the summer). I remember asking my niece Cassie to peel some, and she did a whole gallon). We enjoyed the treat of frozen lychee all summer.

Did you know?

Royal poinciana also is called flamboyant or flame tree. Scientists call it Delonix regia. The golden yellow form that is blooming so brightly this year is the variety Flava.

It is blooming most profusely in the Kapi'olani Park flower garden.

Several readers contacted me to say they were concerned about the lack of maintenance in this prime city garden.

Driving by, the garden looks great, but it is dry and weedy if you look closely.

Maybe the supervisors need to get out of their air-conditioned offices and vehicles and do a ground check. You can have the nicest, most well-planned and installed landscape, but if it is not well maintained, it all goes on the compost heap.