Hawaiian Name(s): kūkaepua‘a, mau‘u kūkaepua‘a

Scientific Name: Digitaria setigera

Vernacular Name: itchy crabgrass

Family: Poaceae

Status: indigenous?

Authority: Roth

Description: Annual grass up to 100 cm tall.

Habitat Possible indigenous or early post-contact introduced grass found in dry, disturbed areas in mesic forest, fields and pastures from 10-980 m on all main islands (Wagner et al. 1990:1531–1532).

Medicines: For ‘ea and pa‘ao‘ao the young leaf buds are masticated with niu (coconut, Cocos nucifera) and used as a pugative. For lua‘i a koko and hikoko the leaves, stalk, and leaf buds are used; this may be followed by ‘alaea clay, mai‘a iholena (Musa spp.) and pia (Tacca leontopetaloides). For the eye disorder, maka‘onohiai‘a, the saliva from chewed leaf buds and leaves is employed (Chun 1994:168–170).

Non Medicinal Uses:

Specific gravity of wood: unknown

Famous Locations:


`Ōlelo Noeau:

Dye Color and Parts:

Kino lau:

Location on Bishop Museum Kalihi Campus:

Propagation Information:

Seed: Seed length approximately 1.5 mm. Photograph: B.Kennedy.
Click for image