Ma‘o hau hele (Hibiscus brackenridgei)

Hawaiian name: Ma‘o hau hele
Botanical name: Hibiscus brackenridgei subsp. brackenridgei
Family: Malvaceae (Hibiscus Family)
Status: Endemic, Endangered
Where found: Maui, Lāna‘i & Hawai‘i
Water/Light: Dry, with full sun exposure
Elevation range: 400 to 2,400 feet
Height: About 10 feet

Photo: Starr

Ma‘o hau hele is known best for its vibrant yellow flowers. Hawaiians extract a blue-gray kapa dye from these flowers. When Hibiscus was named the official flower of the Territory of Hawaii by the Legislature in 1923, the exact variety or species was not specified. In time, many considered the native red or the Chinese red hibiscus as the state flower. In 1988, however, Hawaii's State Legislature resolved the issue by declaring the native yellow Hibiscus or Ma‘o hau hele as the official flower of the State of Hawaii. These drought tolerant shrubs like full sun and thrive in a variety of soil types.

From Work Done by Whit Germano to Catalog Native Hawaiian Plants

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