The U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory will close at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, December 6, due to an official government function. The Conservatory will return to normal hours December 7.
Known as the Hawaii Hawthorn or 'Ulei' in Hawaii, this evergreen member of the rose family is grown from sea level, where it is a low sprawling ground cover, up to 4,000 feet, where it is more of a tree that reaches heights of 14 feet. It is found in the Cook Islands, Tonga and most of the Hawaiian islands. Hawaiians used the long flexible stems to make nets, the flowers and fruits in leis and the wood for fishing spears and musical instruments. Medicinally, the leaves and bark were pounded with salt and used as a poultice. Believed to have been carried by birds, a close relative is found on coral rocks along the coast of Taiwan and Ryukyu Islands of Japan.