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Saturday, June 01, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs June 1, 2024

Kaʻū Coffee Festival Kicks Off
Kaʻū Coffee Festival kicked off with a recipe contest using Kaʻū Coffee in pupu, entree and dessert categories at Kaʻū Coffee Mill on Saturday. See the results, with local chefs wining in upcoming Kaʻū News Briefs. Kaʻū Coffee Festival Continues Wednesday with tours of Kaʻū Coffee farms, followed by a Mountain Hike & Lunch, Kaʻū Coffee & Cattle Day, Stargazing, and next Saturday, the Kaʻū Coffee Festival Ho'olaulea. See www.kaucoffeefestival.com.
Photo by Julia Neal
Opening Pule & Dance for Kaʻū Coffee Festival
Debbie Ryder's Halau Hula O Leionalni gave the opening Pule and dance to start the Kaʻū Festival Welcome Party
at Pāhala Plantation Managers House on Saturday. Events continue in the farms, rainforest, coffee mill and village 
throughout the week. See www.kaucoffeefestival.com. Photo by Julia Neal

OLOMEA IS KAʻŪ PLANT OF THE MONTH for June in the column Lāʻau Letters: Native Plants of Kaʻū by Jodie Rosam, with illustration by Joan Yoshioka. Olomea's scientific name is Perrottetia sandwicensis.
    Description: Olomea is a striking endemic tree in the Dipentodontaceae family (formerly in the Celastraceae family). Up until about 5 years ago, P. sandwicensis was the only recognized endemic species, until two botanists - David Lorence and Warren Wagner - documented a new species (P. wichmaniorum) from Kauaʻi. Olomea can be recognized by its finely-toothed light green leaves with prominent red veins and stems. Our friends on Maui refer to olomea as waimea (which is also another
name for a type of māmaki, probably because its red veins and stems resemble those of olomea). Olomea can grow short like a shrub or a small tree, but can break through the subcanopy where light gaps allow, reaching heights of 18+ meters (over 50 feet). The orange-to-red flowers bloom sporadically year young and are something to be admired when they do! The small (5 mm), bright red, and round juicy fruits dangle in panicles (clusters) from the branches and contain 2-4 shiny green seeds. Olomea wood is golden brown with a reddish tint, moderately hard, and straight grained.
    Uses: Olomea flowers and leaves were used to treat ʻea or thrush during childhood. Perhaps the most interesting use of olomea is that it was used to ignite fires. A large flat ʻaunaki (stick rubbed in obtaining fire by friction) of hard-wooded olomea was rubbed against soft-wooded hau (Hibiscus tiliaceus), and the friction would cause sparks and eventually was a means to ignite ahi (fire).
    Habitat: Olomea is a rather common understory species that can thrive in both wet and mesic forests 
Olomea is a favorite plant for native Hawaiian snails,
called kāhuli. Photo from EMWP
on all of the main Hawaiian Islands (except Kahoʻolawe and Niʻihau) at elevations from about 1,000 to 6,000 feet. Although it is not a rare species to encounter as a mature tree, seedlings are much less commonly seen (you can imagine how tasty the juicy berries are to rats and feral pigs). This again highlights the importance of protecting our native forest species from external pressures, primarily those of feral mammals. In Kaʻū, olomea can be admired in elevations above about 3,000 feet where the native forest remains (relatively) intact. Growing and Purchasing: While I have never seen olomea grown and marketed for landscaping, it absolutely should be! However, some specialty small-op nurseries may be able to grow some out, so if you are interested, please contact the author. If you do get your hands on an olomea (or two or three, remember that plants need friends, too), be sure you give it plenty of water and plant it in a location with at least partial shade. This species loves rich, organic soils, so mimic forest understory conditions as much as possible. Once your olomea establishes, you can enjoy its gorgeous fruiting season (roughly October-December) which is really something to admire. And of course, if you are up for it, maybe you can even try getting your campfire (safely) started using olomea!

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar. See upcoming events, print edition and archive at kaunews.com. Support this news service with advertising at kaunews.com. 7,500 copies in the mail and on stands.

ZONTA CLUB OF HILO is accepting microgrant applications to provide funding for women-owned small businesses on Hawai'i Island. Women entrepreneurs who are seeking financial support are encouraged to apply.
    The Pay It Forward program goal is to help women in the community start up or expand a business through a microgrant intended to give a helping hand. Each grant will be up to $2,000. Awardees are encouraged to "Pay It Forward" when they are financially able.
   "After a record-breaking number of applications in 2023, the club is thrilled to increase funding from $6,000 to $10,000 in order to assist even more female business owners," said Zonta Club of Hilo President Julie Tulang.
   "Helping women to succeed and improve our communities advances the mission of Zonta. Pay It Forward is one of the many programs our club offers to empower women and girls through service and advocacy," Tulang added.
    The Pay It Forward program of the local chapter of Zonta was launched in 2014 with an initial generous donation from Nancy Cabral, a Zonta member and owner of Day-Lum Rentals & Management, Inc. Cabral's desire was to encourage other women to achieve financial independence and business success. Since its inception, many other generous donors have contributed to these microgrants for women entrepreneurs.
    Applications are being accepted by midnight HST on July 31, 2024. The online application is available at https://zontahilo.org/pay-it-forward-microgrant/
    The Zonta Club of Hilo was founded in 1950 and is a member of Zonta International, whose mission is to build a better world for women and girls. For more information, visit zontahilo.org or email info@zontahilo.org.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar. See upcoming events, print edition and archive at kaunews.com. Support this news service with advertising at kaunews.com. 7,500 copies in the mail and on stands.