Coastal Sandalwood

Coastal Sandalwood Plant Information

Coastal Sandalwood grows in the following 1 states:


Santalum ellipticum, commonly known as Iliahialoe (Hawaiian) or coastal sandalwood, is a species of flowering plant in the European mistletoe family, Santalaceae, that is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. It is a sprawling shrub to small tree, typically reaching a height of 1-5m (3.3-16.4ft) and a canopy spread of 1-3m (3.3-9.8ft), but is extremely variable in size and shape. Like other members of the genus, S. ellipticum is a hemi-parasite, deriving some of its nutrients from the host plant by attaching to its roots.

Iliahialoe inhabits dry forests, low shrublands, and lava plains throughout the archipelago, including the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, but has been extirpated from Laysan and Kahoolawe. Although never recorded on Niihau, its historic presence on the island is almost certain.S. ellipticum is generally found at elevations from sea level to 560m (1,840ft), but populations can occur as high as 950m (3,120ft). An isolated individual was observed growing at 2,140m (7,020ft) on the island of Hawaii.
The laau ala (heartwood) of iliahialoe contains valuable, aromatic essential oils. Trees were harvested for export to China between 1791-1840, where the hard, yellowish-brown wood was made into carved objects, chests, and incense. The iliahialoe trade peaked from 1815 to 1826.Native Hawaiians used the wood to make pola, the deck on a waa kaulua (double-hulled canoe). Powdered laau ala was used as a perfume and added to kapa cloth.
Native Hawaiians combined leaves and bark of the iliahialoe with naio (Myoporum sandwicense) ashes to treat kepia o ke poo (dandruff) and liha o ka lauoho (head lice). Iliahialoe shavings mixed with awa (Piper methysticum), nioi (Eugenia reinwardtiana), ahakea (Bobea spp.), and kauila (Alphitonia ponderosa) was used to treat sexually transmitted diseases.

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