Koai'a (Acacia koaia)
Koai’a (Acacia koaia)

Common Name(s): Koaia, dwarf koa, koa oha

Scientific Name: Acacia koaia

Distribution: Hawaii

Average Dried Weight: 70.5 lbs/ft3 (1,130 kg/m3)*

*Density based on a single sample tested

Janka Hardness: 3,250 lbf (14,460 N)*

*Estimated hardness based on specific gravity

Comments: Koai’a is very closely related to the much more commercially popular koa (Acacia koa). Koai’a grows as a much smaller, more obscure and gnarled tree (it’s sometimes called dwarf koa), not leading itself well to commercial harvesting. Also, the wood of Koai’a tends to be much heavier than koa (the single sample tested here was nearly twice as heavy as koa).

Note: This is a truncated profile page. If you have any helpful info or experience with this wood species, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to integrate any relevant data when I expand the page. ~Eric

Images: Drag the slider up/down to toggle between raw and finished wood.

[caption id="attachment_22080" align="alignleft" width="300"]Koai'a (Acacia koaia) Koai’a (Acacia koaia)[/caption]

Identification: See the article on Hardwood Anatomy for definitions of endgrain features.

Koai'a (endgrain 10x)
Koai’a (endgrain 10x)
Koai'a (endgrain 1x)
Koai’a (endgrain 1x)

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B. Ka'imiloa Chrisman

Regarding Acacia koaia (Koai’e, Koai’a in Hawaiian): I spent 31 years in Hawaii and as a Hawaiian cultural specialist and teacher as well as craftsman I am very familiar with Koai’e. I know of only one protected grove of it on the Big Island there, and the mature trees (those I saw perhaps 25 years ago) are considerably smaller than Acacia koa (Koa) and also very curving or gnarly in the trunk and branch growth.    The wood is smooth, hard and tough, so it was used to make canoe paddles for Hawaii’s rough ocean waters with rocky coast, and because… Read more »