‘Ōhelo, (pronounced ‘Oh hello’ in Hawaii), is a plant related to the Cranberry and Blueberry that grows on Maui. Vaccinium reticulatum as it is called scientifically, is a flowering plant growing on lava flows and volcanic ash at elevations between 640 and 3,700′ on Maui and Hawaii’s Big Island.
‘Ōhelo berries are considered Sacred to Pele, the Goddess of Fire and Volcanoes. Additionally, ‘Ōhelo are a staple in the diet of the protected Nēnē Goose. ‘Ōhelo are tasty and like many fruits the flavor is sometimes sweet, sometimes tart, and sometimes neither. The color of ‘Ōhelo berries can be a variety of warm shades ranging from red to orange to yellow. The color of the fruit is no indicator of flavor. It’s flavor is a big surprise.
It is asked that you not harvest or eat any of the wild growing ‘Ōhelo berries during your visit. Harvesting the berries in the wild disrupts the delicate landscape habitat by damaging native vegetation and possibly introducing invasive hitchhiking seeds or bacteria while taking an important food source away from the Nēnē Goose. Please leave the berries for the Hawaiian Nēnē so the digested seeds can pass thru the Nēnē and stay with the land thus increasing the propagation of the native plants and for feeding future generations of this gorgeous native goose. If the berries are eaten by you the seeds will pass through you and… Let’s not get into that here… Read more »