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Ho'olehua Plant Materials Center (HIPMC)
Serving the State of Hawaii and the Pacific Basin Area islands of Guam, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau.

Established: 1957
Size: 81.18 of acres
PMC Operation: NRCS
Land Ownership: Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources

PMC staff and volunteers install panax windbreak study in 2010. Native Achyranthes splendens shrub in foreground.The Ho'olehua Plant Materials Center (HIPMC) was established on Maui and moved to Molokai in 1972 on the fertile agricultural plains of Ho’olehua. The HIPMC service area includes the State of Hawaii, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, The Federated States of Micronesia, The Republic of Palau, The Republic of the Marshall Islands, and American Samoa.

Soils are derived from volcanic lava, eruptive deposits of ash, tuff and cinders, and limestone and alluvial deposits from coral reefs. Land use is diversified with large acreages devoted to ranching, sugarcane, macadamia nuts, coffee, and pineapple and smaller acreages used for truck crops, orchards, and subsistence farming.

The Center develops plant materials and conservation technology for the unique volcanic soils of Hawaii, Guam, and other Pacific Basin islands. The Center has developed technology for cover crops, windbreaks, grazing systems, native plants production, and wildlife habitat. Controlling erosion and enhancing and protecting our natural resource base by using plant materials is our main mission.

The Ho'olehua Plant Materials Center has developed ‘Tropic Coral’ tall erythrina for use in windbreaks; ‘Tropic Lalo’ paspalum for use in ground cover for orchards, waterways, and roadsides; ‘Tropic Sun’ sunn hemp for green manure, cover crops, and energy conservation; and ‘Tropic Shore’ seashore paspalum for stabilizing the shorelines and banks of aquaculture ponds, canals, and streams with brackish or salty water.



Provide plant materials and plant technology that are economically feasible for meeting resource concerns
  • Advice on Obtaining Seeds of Green Manure and Cover Crops in Hawaii assists stakeholders in obtaining plants and seeds for resource conservation application.
  • 'Tropic Sun' sunn hemp, a leguminous cover crop, reduces the dependence on man-made fertilizers and vetiver, a grass for vegetative barriers improves water quality by reducing sedimentation to rivers, surrounding reefs, and bodies of water. Technical support and material is provided to commercial seed companies in Hawaii on the establishment and production of these plants.
  • Erosion on the hardpans of the island of Kaho’olawe is controlled through the development and production of four native plant species. The large scale seed production of these drought and wind tolerant native plant species provide the material for the revegetation of this critically disturbed island.


Improving water quality and quantity with plant science technology
  • 'Tropic Sun' sunn hemp is a fast growing, leguminous, green manure crop that improves soil structure by the addition of nitrogen and organic matter and reduces soil erosion and the dependence on man-made fertilizers.
  • The Hawaii Vegetative Guide helps conservation planners and stakeholders with the selection of conservation plants adapted to Hawaii.
  • Two ground covers, 'Tropic Lalo' paspalum and 'Tropic Shore' seashore paspalum, were developed for high traffic pathways and shore and stream bank stabilization.


Maintain and improve the productivity of agricultural lands and watersheds
  • Wind and water erosion are controlled on the dry, windy, and infertile slopes of Kaho’olawe island by four native plants developed specifically for this problems.
  • The Use of Piligrass Hay Bales for the Island of Kaho’olawe Highly Erodible Site promotes the use of native piligrass hay bales on the island of Kaho’olawe.
  • Publications on the use of native plants for living mulch and on the large-scale production of native plants in Hawaii assure the availability of plants for conservation projects.

Ho'olehua Plant Materials Center
P.O. Box 236
Hoolehua, HI 96729
Shipping address: 4101 Maunaloa Highway
Phone: (808) 567-6885
Fax: (808) 567-6537