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Haleakala Native Plants

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© N.P.S.
Hinahina - Geranium cuneatum subsp. tridens
The hinahina, or silver geranium, is a sub-alpine, low-growing, woody shrub. The subspecies of hinahina pictured is endemic, found only in the high elevation shrublands of Haleakala. The leaves have three to six conspicuous teeth at the tip and are silver due to the presence of many small hairs that reflect the sun's rays. The silver appearance is similar to that of the moon, or mahina. This may be the origin of the Hawaiian name for the plant. The tiny silver hairs also limit the amount of evaporation from leaves that are exposed to strong winds and harsh sunlight.


© N.P.S.
Mamane Blossom - Sophora chrysophulla
Mamane is in the pea family. It is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands and on Maui found principally in the upper elevation shrublands from 4,500 to 9,000 feet in elevation. Nectar from mamane blossoms provides an important food source for many native forest birds. This shrubby tree has been greatly impacted by alien goats and cows. Early Hawaiians used mamane to make adze handles and farming implements and it is still used for fence posts and shelter in upland pastures today.


© N.P.S.
'Iliahi (Sandalwood) - Santalum haleakalae
Conspicuous because of its bright red flowers, 'iliahi is found in somewhat dry areas throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Unfortunately, the distribution of the four 'iliahi species native to Hawaii has been greatly reduced and in some areas severely threatened. The species pictured is endemic to Haleakala. Large quantities of the fragrant heartwood were harvested and shipped to China in the late 18th and 19th century where it was used to make incense and furniture. Only six to eight hundred individuals of the rare Haleakala- sandalwood exist today.


© N.P.S.
'Akala - Rubus hawaiiensis
A close relative of the blackberry, the 'akala is a medium-sized, upland shrub that may grow up to a height of 12 feet. Unlike the blackberry, the 'akala has reduced thorns that provide no protection from browsing animals. The fruit are salmon pink to red and are very large. Although they can be eaten, they usually have a tart, rather than sweet, flavor and are best saved for the Hawaiian forest birds that have limited food sources. Traditionally, Hawaiians used the flower and fruit to make a pink dye and the stem to make bark cloth.


© N.P.S.
Kukaenene - Coprosma ernodeoides
Kukaenene, a member of the coffee family, creeps along the ground and the female plants have round, black, glossy berries. The Hawaiian name literally means "goose droppings". The berries are a popular food for the nene. The bark was traditionally used to make a yellow dye and the fruits a purple dye.





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