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Wikstroemia phillyreifolia

Wikstroemia phillyreifolia A. Gray

Hawaii False Ohelo

Thymelaeaceae (Mezereum family)

Synonym(s): Wikstroemia phillyreifolia var. rigida

USDA Symbol: WIPH2

USDA Native Status: HI (N)

"Low, sprawling, sometimes single­stemmed shrubs or bushy trees up to 3 Ill tall; young branches pubescent or glabrous." (bibref:1798).

Endemic to the island of Hawaii.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub , Tree
Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Margin: Entire
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Flowers Bisexual
Inflorescence: Axillary , Terminal
Fruit Type: Drupe
Leaf: "Leaves coriaceous, elliptic to ovate or orbicular, rarely obovate, (1-)2-4(-6) long, (0.5-)1-2(-3) cm wide, glabrous, apex and base acute or rounded or apex rounded and tapering to base, petioles I.5 mm long, glabrous or with scattered hairs. " (bibref:1798).
Flower: "Flowers perfect and unisexual (the plants polygamous), yellow, pilose or glabrous, peduncles 1-4 mm long, pubescent, with scattered hairs, or glabrous, rachis globose to conical, 1-6 mm long, glabrous to puberulent pedicels 0.5-2 mm long; calyx tube of staminate flowers 5-11 mm long, outer lobes 2.3-5 mm long, 1-3 mm wide, inner lobes 2-3.7 mm long, 1.5-2.6 mm wide; calyx tube of pistillate flowers 4-6 mm long, outer lobes 2-4.5 mm long, 1-2.7 mm wide, inner lobes 1.7-3.3 mm long, 1-2.5 mm wide; calyx tube of perfect flowers 5-7.5 mm long, outer lobes 2-5 mm long, 1.3-3 mm wide, inner lobes 1.5-3 mm long, 1-2.5 mm wide." (bibref:1798).
Fruit: "Fruit red, globose, 7-10 mm in diameter." (bibref:1798).

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow


Native Distribution: Endemic to the Hawaiian island of Hawaii.
Native Habitat: "Occasional or common, sometimes a dominant element of the vegetation, in open dry forest or shrubland, bare 'a 'a lava, sometimes in mesic forest, from near sea level up to 2,290 m, Hawai'i." (bibref: 1798). This taxon grows "in open dry forest, dry shrubland, ‘a‘a lava fields, mesic forest ca. 0–2290 m". (webref: 47).

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist


Warning: This taxon and all others in the family Thymelaeaceae are "poisonous to mammals, containing tricyclic daphnane and tiglane diterpenes, esters of daphnetoxin, and coumarins. The bark and fruit can be extremely irritating to mucous membranes even after drying and cause contact dermatitis in sensitive individuals." (webref: 3).
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds
Deer Resistant: No
Poisonous: yes


Bibref 1798 - Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawaii, Revised Edition (1999) Wagner, W.L.; Herbst, D.R.; Sohmer, S.H.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 47 - Hawaiian Ethnobotany Online Database (2020) Bishop Museum
Webref 31 - Native Plants Hawai’i (2018) University of Hawaii
Webref 28 - NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life (2018) NatureServe

Additional resources

USDA: Find Wikstroemia phillyreifolia in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Wikstroemia phillyreifolia in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Wikstroemia phillyreifolia


Record Modified: 2020-11-02
Research By: JAM

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