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Wikstroemia pulcherrima

Wikstroemia pulcherrima Skottsb.

Kohala False Ohelo

Thymelaeaceae (Mezereum family)

Synonym(s): Wikstroemia phillyreifolia var. buxifolia


USDA Native Status: HI (N)

"Shrubs/small trees; height of 1-3 ft., spreads laterally up to 10 ft". (webref: 47). "Low shrubs or small, densely branched trees up to ca. 2 m tall; young branches pubescent or with scattered hairs, rarely with a dense yellow indumentum or glabrous, internodes 2-10(-20) mm long." (bibref: 1798).

"In the Hawaiian Islands, endemic to Hawaii." (webref: 49).


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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 , Dioecious
Inflorescence: Axillary , Terminal
Fruit Type: Drupe
Leaf: "Leaves vivid green to glaucous on upper surface, lower surface pale or yellowish green, ± soft coriaceous, firm and stiff when dry, elliptic to ovate or subspatulate, (1-)2-3(-5) cm long, (0.5-)1-2(-3) cm wide, glabrous, apex and base acute to rounded, rarely mucronate, petioles 1-5 mm long, pilose." (bibref:1798).
Flower: "Flowers perfect or unisexual (and then plants dioecious), yellow, sericeous, becoming glabrate, peduncles up to 5 mm long, hirsute, rachis clavate, 1-10 mm long, hirsute, pedicels 0.5-1 mm long; calyx tube of staminate flowers 6-10.5 mm long, outer lobes 3-8 mm long, 2-4.5 mm wide, inner lobes 2.8-7 mm long, 1.8-4.5 mm wide; calyx tube of pistillate flowers 4.5-7.5 mm long, outer lobes 3-6.5 mm long, 2-3.5 mm wide, inner lobes 2.5-5.5 mm long, 1.6-3 mm wide; calyx tube of perfect flowers 7-10.5 mm long, outer lobes 4.5-8 mm long, 2.5 mm wide, inner lobes 3.5-6.5 mm long, 2-4 mm wide." (bibref:1798).
Fruit: "Fruit orangish red to dark crimson, globose, 9-18 mm in diameter." (bibref:1798).

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow


Native Distribution: Endemic to the Hawaiian island of Hawaii.
Native Habitat: "Rather common in grazed pastures, along roadsides and in remnant dry forest, 700-950m, South Kohala and North Kona districts, Hawai'i." (bibref: 1798). This taxon grows "in disturbed habitats (roadsides, pastures) and remnant dry forest 700–950 m". (webref: 47).

Growing Conditions

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


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 49 - Flora of the Hawaiian Islands (2020) Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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 pulcherrima in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Wikstroemia pulcherrima in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Wikstroemia pulcherrima


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

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