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Wikstroemia sandwicensis

Wikstroemia sandwicensis Meisn.

Variableleaf False Ohelo

Thymelaeaceae (Mezereum family)

Synonym(s): Wikstroemia perdita


USDA Native Status: HI (N)

"Spindly shrubs or trees up to 5 m tall, trunk straight, slender; branches long, slender, more or less pendent, pubescent when young, becoming glabrate." (bibref: 1798). "This species occurs mainly on Hawaii on the lava fields and on the great central plain on the outskirts of the forest and in the Koa forest at an elevation of 5000 feet, where it is a small tree 15 feet high. At this elevation it is much branching and the branches are drooping and sparingly foliose. Like all other Hawaiian Akia, the bark is very tough and blackish. It fruits prolifically during the winter months." (bibref: 1809).

"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
Inflorescence: Axillary , Spike , Terminal
Fruit Type: Drupe
Leaf: "Leaves pale to dark green on upper surface, lower surface lighter, chartaceous, ovate-elliptic to narrowly elliptic, (2-)4-8(-18) cm long, (1-)2-3.5(-7.8) cm wide, upper surface glabrous, lower surface pubescent at least along the midrib or glabrous, apex acute to acuminate, base acute, rounded to subcordate or tapering, petioles thin, 4-10 mm long, pubescent or sometimes glabrous." (bibref:1798). "Leaves dark green glabrous, or slightly pubescent underneath, especially along the midrib and veins, chartaeeous and faintly nerved, ovate or ovate oblong to lanceolate, 5-10 cm long, 2.5-4 cm wide, on petioles of 6-8 mm which are often pubescent, acute at both ends or often rounded at the base." (bibref: 1809).
Flower: "Flowers unisexual, yellow or greenish yellow, puberulent, peduncles 2-10(-30) mm long, more or less puberulent, often curved, rachis clavate to conical, gradually prolonged, 2-20(-30) mm long, hirsute, sometimes forked, pedicels minute, minute bracts rarely observed; calyx tube of staminate flowers 4-5(-7.5) mm long, outer lobes 1.4-4 mm long, 1-3.2 mm wide, inner lobes 1-3 mm long, 1-3 mm wide; calyx tube of pistillate flowers 3-4(-6) mm long, outer lobes 1.4-3 mm long, 0.9-2.1 mm wide, inner lobes 0.9-2 mm long, 0.8-2.1 mm wide." (bibref:1798). Mature inflorescence a spike "4-30 mm long on peduncles of 2-6 mm, suberect or drooping, usually terminal, densely flowered near the apex, the rachys thick squarrose and tomentose, sometimes dichotomously forking; perianth on a short pedicel of 1 mm, silky tomentose 5-6 mm long, the lobes somewhat obtuse." (bibref: 1809).
Fruit: "Fruit crimson to dark lilac red, ellipsoid, 8-16 mm long, 5-8 mm in diameter." (bibref:1798). "Scales 4 linear, free, as long as the ovary, drupe ovoid 8-10 mm, usually only two maturing at the apex of the spike. Fruits prolifically during the winter months." (bibref: 1809).

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Green
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov , Dec


Native Distribution: Endemic to the Hawaiian island of Hawaii.
Native Habitat: "Rather common in dry to wet forest, 0-1,500 m, on Hawai'i, but not known from the Kohala Mountains." (bibref: 1798). This taxon grows in "dry to wet forest 0–1500 m". (webref: 47).

Growing Conditions

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


Bibref 1809 - Indigenous Trees of the Hawaiian Islands (1913) Rock, Joseph F.
Bibref 1798 - Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawaii, Revised Edition (1999) Wagner, W.L.; Herbst, D.R.; Sohmer, S.H.

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


Record Modified: 2023-03-06
Research By: Joseph A. Marcus

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