Hawaiian Name(s): ‘auhuhu, ahuhu, ‘auhola, hola

Scientific Name: Tephrosia purpurea

Vernacular Name: none

Family: Fabaceae

Status: Polynesian introduction

Authority: (L.) Pers.

Description: Subshrubs, to 1.5 m tall.

Habitat Dry, rocky or clay soil in coastal sites, on lava fields, open areas 5–610 m on all main islands (Wagner et al. 1990:710).

Medicines: The leaves and leaf buds are ground and mixed with salt, niu (coconut, Cocos nucifera), as a topical treatment for cuts; also for itchy skin (Chun 1994:49).

Non Medicinal Uses: Parts of the plant contain tephrosin, which stuns fish but not mammals, used in tide pools to poison & capture fish (Abbott 1992:86).

Specific gravity of wood: unknown

Famous Locations:


`Ōlelo Noeau: [I] He ‘apu ‘auhuhu koheoheo. A poisonous concoction made of ‘auhuhu. A person of poisonous nature. [II] He i‘a ua nipoa i ka ‘auhuhu. A fish stunned by ‘auhuhu juice. Said of one under the influence of sorcery or other evil.

Dye Color and Parts:

Kino lau:

Location on Bishop Museum Kalihi Campus:

Propagation Information:

Seed: Seed length approximately 4.5 mm. Photograph: H.Lennstrom.
Click for image