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Roger G. Skolmen
Kiawe (Prosopis pallida), also known as algarroba or bayahonda, is one of the 44 species of Prosopis recognized. The genus has a confused taxonomy. Burkart's revision, used here, assigns the designation P. pallida to the species introduced into Puerto Rico and elsewhere in the Caribbean formerly called P. juliflora. Prosopis glandulosa, mesquite, also formerly included in P. juliflora and four to six other species grow as shrubs or trees over an extensive area of the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico (2,7,10).
More than 60 700 ha (150,000 acres) of dry kiawe forests in Hawaii are descended from a single tree planted in 1828 at the corner of a church in Honolulu. That year, Father Bachelot, the first Catholic priest in the Hawaiian Islands, planted a tree that he had raised from a seed he had brought with him from Paris. The tree was later determined to be Prosopis pallida. In August 1832, the tree was found to be hearing fruit. By 1840, progeny of the tree had become the principal shade trees of Honolulu and were already spreading to dry, leeward plains on all of the islands (3,8,12).