Milo

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Thespesia populnea [Malvaceae]
Origin: Old World Pantropical, possibly indigenous

Milo can be found on protected shorelines on all islands, and is a popular landscaping tree, especially in resort areas. It's often seen as a small tree, but mature specimens are reported to grow to fifty feet or more.

Leaves and flowers of milo are similar to those of its relative hau, but milo grows as a tree while hau naturally forms a sprawling thicket.

Milo is found in tropical shoreline habitats around the world. It's probably indigenous to Hawaii, meaning that it arrived here on its own, likely by floating seeds, which can survive a year in the ocean. But it also may have been brought to Hawaii by the Polynesians, who valued it for its wood and fiber.

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