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Home  >> Tree Identification  >> Candlenut tree

Candlenut tree
Kukui
Indian Walnut

Aleurites moluccana

In Hawaii the Candlenut tree, or Kukui, is considered a symbol of peace, protection, and enlightenment. Due to its multiple uses, the Candlenut tree has been designated as the state tree of Hawaii.

Although the raw fruit is poisonous, the fruit of the Candlenut tree can be prepared as a food source and has been used in traditional medicinal treatments. Candlenut tree fruit contains a flammable oil, up to 70% by content. The Candlenut tree derives its name from the fact that the fruit can be burned like a candle. Hawaiians also extracted the oil from the Candlenut tree fruit and burned it in a stone oil lamp with a cloth wick.

The Candlenut tree is a medium to large sized ornamental tree that will grow to a mature height of 50 to 80’. The Candlenut tree may develop wide spreading or pendulous branches.

Candlenut trees prefer moist, but well drained soils and grow best in full sun or light shade. A benefit of planting a Candlenut tree is the spring display of flowers. The Candlenut tree will display an abundance of fragrant, whit flowers in the spring.
 

Candlenut Tree Candlenut fruit Candlenut flower

Attribution: Forest & Kim Starr

Candlenut Tree Characteristics:

Common insect pests of Candlenut tree: No significant insect pests.

Common disease pests of Candlenut tree: No significant foliar diseases, but the wood can be susceptible to wood decay fungi.

Fall foliage: Evergreen.

Form: Wide spreading or pendulous branches.

Fruit: 1.5 - 2.5" diameter brown to black nut.

Growth Rate: Moderate to fast.

Leaves: Simple and ovate, or trilobed or rarely 5-lobed; 4 – 8” long.

Mature height: 50 – 80’

Preferred soil pH: 5.0 – 8.0

Summer foliage: Leathery, green. Young foliage has a silvery, powdered appearance.

Tree Bark: Grey

 

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