ʻAʻaliʻi (Dodonaea viscosa)

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“He hina nō ka ʻaʻaliʻi kū makani, he ʻulaʻa pū me ka lepo. The wind-resisting ʻaʻaliʻi falls, [but] is uprooted together with the dirt.” (said of a strong warrior) – ʻŌlelo Noʻeau #579

Especially apropos after stormy weather in early December wreaked havoc throughout our pae ʻāina, the tenacity and resilience of ʻaʻaliʻi is instructive. Its variability seems key to success as it thrives in many places, whether as shrubs on arid coastal plains or small trees in upland rainforests. Papery seed pods in shades from pink to darkest red are used in lei. Flowers, most often male or female on separate plants, are tiny and frequently escape notice.