'Iliahi Sandalwood Landscape
The 'iliahi tree, also known as sandalwood, was once a common Hawaiian forest tree. When trade ships first started landing on Hawaiian shores in the 1790s, they immediately recognized the value of the aromatic heart wood. Prized, traders paid highly for it.
The Hawaiian ali'i (royalty) unfortunately set the stage for its near extinction. They levied a tax that required all kanaka subjects to deliver large yearly quantities of sandalwood. Crops withered and famine struck as people were called away from their fields and into the mountains. By the 1840s the lands were denuded of this once abundant resource.
Interest in reforesting with this native tree was immediate, however early attempts failed. It was discovered that this tree is hemi-parasitic. It requires other species in close proximity. Only in a diverse landscape does it thrive. This print is inspired by the work being done in the Wai'anae mountains to reestablish groves of 'iliahi through native reforestation. The patchwork pattern in the background is made up of 'iliahi flowers and represents its flowering across the landscape.