Koki‘o ke‘o ke‘o (Hibiscus waimeae ssp. waimeae)

Hawaiian Name: Koki‘o ke‘o ke‘o
Botanical name: Hibiscus waimeae ssp. waimeae
Family: Malvaceae
Status: Endemic to the island of Kauaʻi
Where found: Kaua‘i
Water/Light: Wet forests
Elevation range: 820–3,940 ft
Height: 20–33 ft

Hibiscus waimeae ssp. waimeae features large white flowers with red stamens. Mature plants can reach heights of up to 20 feet, with an 8 to 10 feet spread, and grow from 800 to 4,000 feet elevation. The Hawaiian white hibiscus are popular in landscaping and were used extensively in breeding new ornamental Hibiscus varieties in the early part of the 20th century.

In old Hawaii, many forms of hibiscus were planted around homes for their flowers. The native Hawaiian white hibiscus species are unique in the world for being faintly fragrant.

Photo: Starr

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A Few Native Hawaiian Plants from the MNBG Collection