Highly Prized Hawaiian Ko'u
Kou, pronounced (ko-oo), is a rare hardwood that grows in the coastal regions of the Hawaiian Islands from sea level to roughly 100 ft. but may grow at up to 450 ft. above sea level. Almost totally destroyed by a moth in the 1800s, it is one of the rarest woods from Hawaii. Kou was prized by Hawaiian royalty for food use: poi bowls, calabashes and utensils as Kou does not impart a taste to food. Kouis a species of flowering trees in the borage family, Boraginaceae. Thetree is known by a variety of names including Mareer, Kerosene wood (because of its ease in burning), Manjak, Glueberry, Narrow-leafed Bird Lime Tree, "Kanawa," Tou, and Kou.subcordata. It grows to 2333 ft. at maturity, but may be as tall as 49 ft.Trunks are generally leaning andproduce small log sections from 1-3 or 4 ft. lengths.Logs are generally hollow. The tree produces fruit that is buoyant and may be carried by ocean currentsand thus spread throughout tropical coast lines. The wood of the tree has a specific gravity of 0.45, is soft, durable, and easily worked, taking a nice smooth polish when finished.

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