Hala Pepe, Hawaiian Dragon Tree
A mid-sized dragon tree native to the drier, leeward (Kona) side of the Big Island of Hawaii, where it grows in the remains of dry lowland forest on old lava flows between 300 and 800 m (1000 to 2700 ft.). with age, it forms a small, dichotomously branching tree to about 6 m (20 ft.) tall that carries many rosettes of leathery, green, strap-like leaves to about 40 cm (15 in.) long. It produces clusters of large, yellow flowers, followed by attractive red berries. The Hawaiian Dragon Tree is highly endangered by development, grazing animals, fire and more competitive exotic plants. Only a few natural populations remain on the island of Hawaii and within these, little rejuvenation takes place. Fortunately it is a highly attractive ornamental and does well in cultivation, is easy to germinate and to grow, and could be a very popular ornamental if seeds were more commonly available.