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Hawaii Island Palm Society

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The Hawaii Island Palm Society, (HIPS), is a great group of people who simply love palms and who strive to promote their use in private gardens and the general landscape. Our goal is to perpetuate rare and endangered palms worldwide, through the sharing of seeds and plants. Our organization is affiliated with the International Palm Society and is dedicated to community outreach and education.  Among other community services, HIPS volunteers plan, plant, and help maintain the outstanding palm collection at the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens in Hilo.  

Members enjoy private garden tours, lectures, electronic newsletter, an annual banquet and palm auction, use of an extensive reference library, and discount pricing with BEI Agricultural Products in Hilo.  New members are eligible for open garden days, a chance to meet with established HIPS members in their gardens.

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Open Garden Days for New Members

Established HIPS members welcome our newest members by inviting them into their private gardens for a more personal opportunity to learn about growing palms in Hawaii.  If you would like to offer your garden or would like to participate in a tour, contact Rick Kelley at

Upcoming events

    • 25 Jul 2020
    • 1:00 PM (HAST)
    • Orchidland - Directions sent 1 week prior to event

    Members putting in new gardens often wonder how long will it take to build a garden from scratch.  This garden is an excellent example of what kind of growth is possible given one man’s boundless energy and loads of cinder and mulch!  Aside from palms, Rick loves orchids.  He is single handedly putting the orchid back in Orchidland, tying orchids to palms and pretty much anything else vertical.

    Rick bought the three acre “spaghetti lot" measuring 125 ft along the road and 1000 ft deep in 2012. Pahoehoe lava formations produce a somewhat hilly topography. In 2015 a dozer extended the driveway 700 ft down the middle of the lot so the entire area was accessible to cinder trucks.


    So far 55 dump truck loads of cinder have been used to fill in low spots and create raised beds on slopes. An equal amount of mulch has been mixed in to provide some organic material for moisture retention.

    Madagascar hillside planted in 2016. Bn= Bismarkia nobilis, Da=Dypsis ampasindavae, Dl=Dypsis lastelliana, Doc=Dypsis sp orange crush, Dp=Dypsis procera, Ln=Lemurophoenis halleuxii, Ts=Tahina spectabilis. More Dypsis in the back out of sight. A bed of blue agapanthus is in front.

    • 15 Aug 2020
    • 12:00 PM (HAST)
    • Pepeekeo - directions sent 1 week prior to event

    Back by popular demand, Bob and Patty are hosting HIPS at their farm in Peepeekeo.  Bring your appetite for potluck and palms.  HIPS will provide a main entree and water, please bring a salad, side dish, or dessert to share.  All members are encouraged to bring potted palms, cycads, and other tropical plants to trade or sell to fellow members.  

    We will have tents, tables, and chairs for the potluck, but members should bring their own canopies and tables for their sales items. Please test and treat plant material for fire ant before bringing plants to the farm.  Questions about selling palms at the event?  Contact Rick Kelley,

    • 12 Sep 2020
    • (HAST)
    • Floribunda Palms, Hawaiian Acres

    Note:  Date tentative.  This is a rare chance to geek out with local legend Jeff Marcus as he guides us through his extensive palm collection to demonstrate interesting palm morphology and taxonomic mysteries. The Marcus garden is a wonderful example of how private gardens can play a role in taxonomic research.  Several new species of palm have been named from his garden, and herbarium vouchers made from palms in his garden have been sent to world renown botanical gardens including The Royal Botanical Garden at Kew in the United Kingdom. 

    We are working on ways to accommodate as many members who would like to attend, while insuring people can hear and see specimens up close.  We will email members with more information and when online registration opens.

    • 3 Oct 2020
    • 1:00 PM (HAST)
    • Hilo

    Lars Woodruff and Irene Francis are tireless stewards of one of East Hawaii’s most beautiful legacy gardens.  Originally created by the late Jerry Hunter, an extraordinary nurseryman who established Palms of Paradise nursery here on Hawaii as a growing grounds for his California nursery Rancho Soledad in San Diego County.  This is one of the loveliest large gardens on Hawaii.  The garden appears in the book Designing With Palms by Jason Dewees. Irene and Lars have not only restored the garden to its former glory but have started to make their own improvements bringing their own artistic talent to the land.

Latest Multimedia:

Saúl Hoyos:

Extreme Botany in Colombia

The Magnificent Story of Sabina: Sabinaria magnifica

Thanks to HIPS member Dean Ouer for creating a special online version of Saúl's talks.  For other HIPS lectures online, visit Tropiscape, a fantastic resource for anyone who is growing palms or other tropical plants.  

Additions to Lending Library:

Do you wonder who volunteers their time for board meetings?  Get to know your board members here.  If you are interested in joining the HIPS board, contact Rick Kelley at 

Contact Us:  

P.O. Box 1585, Kea'au, Hi   96749

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