Shipping ohia from the Big Island is now forever banned.

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture said Wednesday that administrative rules prohibiting the movement of ohia and soil from Hawaii Island became permanent last week

The rules impose permanent quarantine restrictions on intrastate movement of ohia and other material (e.g., flowers, leaves, seeds, stems, twigs, cuttings, untreated wood, logs, mulch green waste and frass, which is sawdust from boring insects such as beetles) that could spread rapid ohia death, also known as ohia wilt.

The DOA says the fungus is destroying the native ohia forests on Hawaii Island, the only island where it has been detected.

An iiwi feeds on the lehua blossom of the ohia tree in Hakalua Forest Reserve.
An iiwi feeds on the lehua blossom of the ohia tree in Hakalua Forest Reserve. Courtesy: Bettina Arrigoni/Flickr

Moving ohia material and soil requires inspection and a permit issued by the DOA’s Plant Quarantine Branch of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture. (In Hilo call 808-961-9393 while in Kona call 808-326-1077 for more information.)

Violating the ban may lead to a misdemeanor and fine not less than $100. The maximum fine is $10,000. 

More information on rapid ohia death (which has the unfortunate acronym ROD) may be found here.

The fungus was first noticed in 2010 in Puna and is now estimated to infest about 50,000 across Hawaii Island.

The DOA said it is not known how the disease entered the state or where it came from.

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