Hawaiian Name(s): hō‘awa, hā‘awa, papahekili (P. glabrum), a‘awa (P. hosmeri), ‘a‘awa hua, hō‘awa lau nui (P. kauaiense)

Scientific Name: Pittosporum (11 species)

Vernacular Name: none

Family: Pittosporaceae

Status: endemic

Authority: P. argentifolium Sherff, P. confertiflorium A.Gray, P. flocculosum (Hillebr.) Sherff, P. gayanum Rock, P. glabrum Hook. & Arn., P. halophilum Rock. P. hawaiiense Hillebr., P. hosmeri Rock, P. kauaiense Hillebr., P. napaliense Sherff, P. termonaliodes Planch. ex A.Gray

Description: Leaves 4-10" long and 1-2.5" wide, fruits 2-3" long and 2-4 valved.

Habitat Habitats vary greatly within and by species; many restricted to single islands (Wagner et al. 1990:1039–1047).

Medicines: For a swollen neck (‘a‘i palaha) or other similar illnesses, the inner fleah of the hō‘awa fruit is mixed with dried kukui nuts (Aleurites moluccana), leaves and root of kupukupu hohonu (cf. Nephrolepis spp.), and leaves, root, and bark of ‘ilie‘e (Plumbago zeylandica) added to ‘okolehao (distilled from ki, Cordyline fruticosa) (Chun 1994:91–92).

Non Medicinal Uses: Wood was "no doubt good for fuel" (Malo 1951:22–23) Sometimes used as gunwales (canoe part) (Krauss 1993:50); fruits as medicines (Neal 1965:382). Used by certain kahuna for "evil and troublesome work" (Chun 1994:92).

Specific gravity of wood: unknown

Famous Locations:


`Ōlelo Noeau:

Dye Color and Parts:

Kino lau:

Location on Bishop Museum Kalihi Campus:

Propagation Information: Intermediate. Treat seeds with bleach solution or lemon juice. Slow germination and growth. Growth occurs in spurts & accelerates once branching begins in plants over 30cm tall (Bornhorst 1996:58; Culliney and Koebele 199:61–64).
Hawaiian Native Plant Propagation Database (P. confertiflorium ); Hawaiian Native Plant Propagation Database (P. hosmeri).
Native Plants Hawaii.

Seed: Seed length approximately 5.6 mm. Photograph: H.Lennstrom. Species: P. glabrum.
Click for image