Hō‘awa (Pittosporum glabrum)

Hawaiian name: Hō‘awa
Botanical name: Pittosporum glabrum
Family: Pittosporaceae (Pittosporum Family)
Status: Endemic
Where found: Maui, Moloka‘i, Lāna‘i, O‘ahu & Kaua‘i
Water/Light: Moist, with full to partial sunlight
Elevation range: 750 to 6,500 feet
Height: Up to 30 feet, with a 10 foot spread

Photo courtesy of Jupiter Nielsen

Notes: Hō‘awa have beautiful clusters of white to cream colored flowers and fascinating fruits that resemble walnuts. Of the 11 species of hō‘awa, this one is the most widespread throughout the Hawaiian Islands. In ancient Hawai‘i, hō‘awa wood was fashioned into gunwales (upper sides) of canoes. Medicinally, the outer layer of its fruit were used to treat external sores. One source mentions that hō‘awa was used by certain kahuna for “evil and troublesome work.” Hō‘awa is drought and wind tolerant.

*Photo courtesy of Jupiter Nielsen

From Work Done by Whit Germano to Catalog Native Hawaiian Plants

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