The acacia tree, or koa, grows to a height of 100 feet; its wood is used for furniture, cabinetry and musical instruments. Resistant to fungi and insects, acacia wood was used historically to make dugout canoes and spear handles in Hawaii.
The colour of the acacia wood is influenced by its growing conditions. It has a yellow to white sapwood, and the heartwood ranges from a light brown to a darker brown. The wood may also have intermittent streaks of red or golden brown.
The acacia wood itself has no noticeable taste or odour, but it imparts a distinctive flavour when used in food preparation.
Acacia wood is brittle due to variances in density, which make it hard to plane or sand by hand. It carves well and can be polished to a high lustre.
Acacia, considered the royal wood of Native Hawaiians, was used in coffins and most other wooden items meant for members of the royal family.