Hawaiian Name(s): pāpala

Scientific Name: Charpetiera (5 species)

Vernacular Name: none

Family: Amaranthaceae

Status: endemic

Authority: C. densiflora Sohmer, C. elliptica (Hillebr.) A.Heller, C. obovata Gaudich., C. ovata Gaudich., C. tomentosa Sohmer

Description: Trees.

Habitat C. densiflora on Kaua‘i in mesic gulches 160–250 m, C. elliptica also Kaua‘i in diverse mesic forest 250–1250 m, C. obovata mesic to wet forests on most main islands 190–1750 m, C. ovata on O‘ahu, Moloka‘i, Maui, Hawai‘i wet to mesic forests 300–1160 m, C. tomentosa most common on O‘ahu in mesic forest 110–770 m (Wagner et al. 1990:189–192).


Non Medicinal Uses: Branches used as firebrands in the sport ‘oahi, which involved tossing burning branches off cliffs on Kaua‘i (Krauss 1993:95–96).

Specific gravity of wood: unknown

Famous Locations:


`Ōlelo Noeau: Ka pali ‘oahi o Makana. The firebrand-hurling of the cliff of Makana.

Dye Color and Parts:

Kino lau:

Location on Bishop Museum Kalihi Campus:

Propagation Information: Native Plants Hawaii.

Seed: Seed length approximately 1 mm. Photograph: H.Lennstrom. Species: C. obovata.
Click for image