Hawaiian Plants


Kooloaula (Abutilon menziesii) is an exquisite tropical flower native to Hawaii with green petals partially hidden by sepals.

Growing at elevations between 2,500 feet and 3,750 feet, this flower grows mesic forests at mesic terrains. It features flowers resembling common hydrangeas and purple berries which appear regularly.

Polynesians introduced many of the plants we know today to Hawaii on their canoes as part of medicine, food, worship and culture.

Ohi’a Lehua

Ohi’a lehua stands out among Hawaii’s native trees as one of its most distinctive and significant natives, found endemic on six large islands and found across multiple habitats such as coastal sites, dry mesic and wet forests, windswept slopes and ridges, wind-swept slopes/ridges/ridgetops/arid shrublands, subalpine forests as well as subalpine forest environments. Additionally, Ohi’a grows easily on lava flows, often becoming one of the first plants to colonise new flows when new flows emerge from below ground.

This tree can reach heights between 20-25m (66-82ft), however it can also grow as a prostrate shrub in boggy soils or directly on basalt. Its flowers feature masses of fiery red stamens with yellow petals ranging in hue. Many native Hawaiian traditions hold Ohi’a sacred to Pele, the volcano goddess. Additionally, its wood was often used for weapons, kapa beaters and poi boards made from it and its leaves used to brew medicinal tea for local use.

An easy-to-grow plant, the golden pothos is suitable for containers or indoor growing. Preferring full sunlight with regular watering needs and being highly resistant to heat, cold and wind; it makes an attractive specimen or can even be pruned into hedges.

Ohi’a plants may become invasive in certain locations, so it is wise to monitor plantings closely. Furthermore, this species is susceptible to root rot that may result from too much soil moisture or prolonged wet periods; Mycorrhizalaria hygrophila can also pose problems for Ohi’a plants.

Ohi’a lehua trees make an eye-catching statement in any landscape, not only as attractive flowering and fruiting trees but also with their practical applications such as being used as hedges, adding contrast and creating boundaries in any setting. Their bright green leaves offer the ideal foil against darker ground cover or shrubs while acting as windbreaks.

This tree is an integral component of Hawaiian ecology and must be protected. Its regenerative capabilities play a pivotal role in maintaining forest health as well as supporting diversity within its forests.

Hakuna Wear has taken steps to help save our native species of ohi’a trees by dedicating 10% of profits from Lehua Collection sales towards research on this fungal pathogen that threatens them so rapidly. In order to save this endangered species, Hakuna Wear will contribute 10% of profits from this collection towards research into this fatal illness.

Hala Tree

The Hala Tree (Pandanus tectorius) holds great cultural, health, and economic significance to Hawaiian Islands. A medium to large tree with long spiny leaves and many prop roots, Hala is dioecious with male flowers appearing as small pendant clusters along its branches, while female flowers produce pineapple-shaped fruit heads on its stems.

Once common in Hawaiian coastal forests, but now nearly extinct due to extensive logging and overgrowth. Hala was prized as a rugged building material with durability that could withstand weather extremes, as well as its fruit/leaf bracts providing food as well as medicinal benefits for Polynesians.

Hawaii utilizes the leaves from hala trees as mats to make living environments more comfortable and ground less slippery, particularly during rainy weather. Furthermore, their leaves were used for canoe sail construction that contributed to Polynesian navigational techniques and prized spiny fruit heads are prized for their beauty and color – they make popular lei options during graduations, weddings and other significant life events such as graduations or milestones in life.

As opposed to its tropical cousin (Pandanus nigricans) found in the US, hala does not form into a shrubby form and therefore doesn’t need pruning or shaping to stay looking its best. Hala is a hardy plant, adaptable enough to withstand drought, wind, salt spray, poor soil and many climate conditions. Plus it makes an attractive landscape plant. Attractively suited for poor, salty or sandy soils in hot and windy locations; can help stabilize sandy coastal properties where salt spray prevents other plants from flourishing; Hala is well known for its drought and salt tolerance, making it a suitable replacement for non-native species planted previously. Furthermore, it makes an ideal shade and privacy plant with its fast-growing canopy providing shade and privacy protection. Due to its serrated leaves and midrib which could cut anyone brushing against them in public areas.

Ohelo’ ai

This endemic shrub is among the many native Hawaiian plants adapted to Hawaii’s harsh environment. Featuring salt, wind and drought tolerance as well as being an effective barrier against erosion, it makes an excellent addition to either sunny or shaded locations and often seen growing along lava flows or disturbed ground; additionally it produces small white flowers in summertime that bloom beautifully.

It has leathery leaves ranging in color from dark green to yellowish-green and can either be glaucous or glabrous, and grows 3 to 4 feet high, producing small red berries eaten by Nene (Hawaiian Goose). This plant is often seen growing near water bodies or forests as its food sources provide essential wildlife sustenance.

Ohelo’ ai requires regular watering to remain healthy and vibrant, and should be watered every two or three days during summer, and once every week during fall before fruit production commences; after which water should gradually decrease until harvest season arrives and increase again to allow optimal fruit development – the sweet and delicious berries produced from this species only!

Ohelo’ ai is not only an essential component of Hawaii’s ecosystem; its edible berries contain plenty of pectin that makes preserving them easy for jams, jellies and other recipes. Not only is ohelo’ ai tasty but it has several health benefits as well; including reduced stress levels and improved digestion.

This tree is an invaluable asset to Hawaiian society, providing materials used in making traditional Hawaiian fabrics and hats. The leaves can be woven to form elegant mats while stems can be used to craft beautiful hats and bags – while its wood can even be used as fence posts! Hala trees have become symbols of Hawaiian spirit and culture, visible across all islands across Hawaii.

Hapu’u pulu is an exceptional native plant native to Hawaii that has long been part of its landscape. This resilient fern can withstand temperatures as high as 86 degrees Fahrenheit while its long fronds make an eye-catching statement in tropical landscaping and its vibrant green hue is sure to add life and vibrancy to any garden. Furthermore, hapu’u pulu acts as a natural deterrent against invasive plants which can otherwise be difficult to manage.


Kooloaula is an endangered flowering shrub belonging to the Malvaceae family that thrives exclusively in Hawaii. Featuring silver-green leaves with butter yellow to maroon red flowers, this beautiful species makes an excellent addition to xeric gardens.

Kooloaula grows well in full sun and drought conditions, but must be protected from salt spray. A fast-growing shrub, it may need occasional pruning to maintain its shape and size; its heart-shaped leaves often appear asymmetrical while it boasts varied flower colors that range from pink to various hues of red.

This endemic Hawaiian shrub can typically be found in dry forests on Oahu, Maui, and Lanai; however a new population was discovered near Barbers Point on Oahu in 1981; this may represent its own natural occurrence with distinguishable leaf morphologies and other characteristics that distinguish this population from others on Oahu.

Kooloaula is a thornless shrub that can reach 6-10′ tall and wide, boasting long-lived flowers ideal for lei making. Prefers full sun with sandy soil but no standing water; propagated via seed, cuttings or transplantation (though rare to find in nature).

Seeds mature inside pale yellow to brown capsules that disperse their seeds by wind. You can open these capsules by hand for easier collection of seeds; or simply shake open capsules until all seeds have fallen out.

Cultivated Abutilon menziesii plants thrive under nursery conditions and show great promise in both landscape and greenhouse environments, producing abundant blooms. Furthermore, this variety has excellent drought tolerance as well as tolerance to shade conditions.

Kooloaula requires regular watering but should never become waterlogged, and should only ever be planted into slightly larger pots from time to time. As this species cannot tolerate frost or cold temperatures, fertilizing it every other week with liquid organic products is recommended and repotted every few months into slightly bigger ones should also be done as necessary.