Plant species found in the Hawaiian Islands
alphabetical by common name

Common Name(s) Species Name Local? UH Botany page Typical
Description and notes
`a`ali`i Dodonaea viscosa indigenous 9 pictures 2-3 m? abundant shrub, sea level to above tree line
grows to an understory tree in koa groves and mid-elevation ohi‘a forests
`ama`u Sadleria spp.,
Sadleria cyatheoides
endemic yes less than 1 m large fern, with fronds that are often tinted red
bot130 fern page
eucalyptus Eucalyptus spp. alien yes 45 m? which eucalyptus species are most prevalent in Hawai‘i? appears to be E. globulus (blue gum) and E. robusta (swamp mahogany)
ginger, yellow Hedychium flavescens alien yes 1-1.5 m?  
ginger, white Hedychium coronarium alien yes 1-1.5 m?  
guava Psidium guajava alien yes 2-5 m?  
hala Pandanus tectorius indigenous 5 pictures 3-6 m characteristic of wet coastal forest
hapu'u Cibotium spp.
(splendens /
glaucum, chamissoi / hawaiiense)
endemic yes 3-7 m hawaiian tree fern
fronds 1-3m long, pale green on lower surface
bot130 fern page
"There are 4 species of Cibotium that are endemic to Hawai‘i. They are Cibotium chamissoi, C. glaucum, C. menziesii, and C. nealiae. A hybrid between C. chamissoi and C. menziesii is also known."
`iliahi, sandalwood Santalum spp. some endemic
lots of pictures   the Santalum family includes some native, endangered sandalwood species
page of rough sandalwood notes
`ilima Sida fallax indigenous 4 pictures up to 1.3 m low sprawling shrub, from sea level to 650 m
flower colors range from yellow, to rich orange, to dull red, resembling a small hibiscus
ironwood Casuarina equisetifolia alien yes 10-30 m also called Horsetail beefwood, Horsetail tree, South sea ironwood, Mile tree, and Australian pine - not to be confused with Indonesian "ironwood" (Eusiderox zwageri)
page at the NPS
kiawe, mesquite Prosopis spp. (pallida, glandulosa, juliflora) alien yes 2-6 m most common tree in arid regions, from sea level to 700 m
small yellow-white flowers, fruits are legume type
grayish bark and trunk have a distinctive twisted appearance
klu Acacia farnesiana alien yes 2-6 m ? looks a lot like koa haole, but with yellow blossoms instead of white
grows in dry habitats from sea level to 1,000 m on all islands
koa Acacia koa endemic 6 pictures 3-15 m found in humid forest areas from 450-1220 m elevation
koaia Acacia koaia endemic      
koa haole Leucaena leucocephala alien 3 pictures 3-6 m?  
kukaenene Coprosma ernodeoides endemic yes under 1 m A member of the coffee family, creeps along the ground.
kukui, candlenut tree Aleurites moluccana naturalized
bot130 up to 20 m produces large nuts
official state tree
lantana Lantana camara alien yes up to several meters thorny shrub, a noxious weed, can form impenetrable thickets which crowd out other plants
perennial and aromatic, native to subtropical and tropical Central America
found up to 600 m on all islands, principally in dry areas, has infested both mesic and wet habitats
miconia Miconia calvescens alien yes 4-15 m tree from South America which is "the one plant that could really destroy the Hawaiian forest"
leaves up to 80 cm long
page at HEAR includes a detail report
mamaki Pipturus albidus endemic yes    
mamane Sophora chrysophylla endemic   up to 16 m (4-6 m typical?) native legume tree with yellow pea-like flowers
threatened by feral ungulates
naio Myoporum sandwicense indigenous 6 pictures 2-4 m? large shrub with glossy green leaves and small white flowers
nehe Lipochaeta spp. endemic     green groundcover, yellow flowers
'ohi‘a lehua Metrosideros polymorpha / collina endemic bot130 2-10 m? most common tree on the island
grows very differently depending on climate
8 varieties
`olapa Cheirodendron  platyphyllum / trigynum endemic 6 pictures 3-6 m looks like a large shrub with round leaves and dark berries, found in rainforest areas
panini, prickly pear cactus Opuntia spp. alien no up to 2 m? the Hawaiian name translates as "very unfriendly," undoubtedly because of the sharp spines covering the flat thick leaves
very common in North Kohala, especially on the Parker Ranch lands
paperbark tree Melaleuca quinquenervia alien yes up to 12 m from Australia, has been planted extensively in reforestation projects
invades open swampy areas
silk oak Grevillea robusta alien     fast-spreading tree on leeward side
silversword Argyroxiphium kauense endemic yes up to 2.5 m on Mauna Loa, from about 1,625 to 1,900 m
Argyroxiphium sandwicense endemic yes up to 3 m subspecies sandwicense is found upper slopes of Mauna Kea from 2,125 to 3,750 m
strawberry guava Psidium cattleianum / littorale alien yes 5-8 m page at the NPS
uluhe, false staghorn fern Dicranopteris lineari indigenous 4 pictures n/a bot130 fern page
domesticated / agricultural
banana Musa spp. alien yes 3-5 m?  
breadfruit Artocarpus altilis naturalized
yes 15-20 m  
coconut Cocos nucifera indigenous      
coffee Coffea arabica alien      
macadamia Macadamia integrifolia alien     the island has 700 farms on 20,200 acres
planted around 10m apart
mango Mangifera indica alien
papaya Carica papaya alien     planted 1m apart in rows 3m apart
sugarcane Saccharum officinarum alien bot130    
taro, kalo Colocasia esculenta naturalized
ti, ki Cordyline fruticosa naturalized

Numerous smaller ferns and grasses

Agriculture notes

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