ʻIlima papa (Sida fallax)

Hawaiian name: ‘Ilima
Botanical name: Sida fallax
Family: Malvaceae (Mallow Family)
Status: Indigenous
Where found: All Hawaiian Islands
Water/Light: Dry, with full sun exposure
Elevation range: 0 to 6,500 feet
Height: Up to 10 feet, with an up to 8 foot spread

Notes: ‘Ilima is one of the few natives that flourish in dry land areas, due to its unpleasant taste to deer. ‘Ilima flowers vary in shades of yellow, orange, red, to a rare greenish color. Early Hawaiians, too, recognized these various forms and gave them distinctive names including kuakea (light yellow); melemele (strong yellow); ‘ilima lei (deep gold); ‘ilima ‘ula‘ula (bronze red); and kolī kukui (rusty red). ‘Ilima was one of the few plants cultivated by early Hawaiians specifically for lei making as 500 to 1,000 blossoms make a single strand lei. Originally, lei ‘ilima were reserved for royalty as they looked very much like the yellow feather lei worn only by ali‘i (lei hulu). It is said that Queen Emma Kalanikaumakaamano Kaleleonālani Na‘ea Rooke (1836-1885) enjoyed lei ‘ilima over all other lei.

From Work Done by Whit Germano to Catalog Native Hawaiian Plants

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