Nānū (Gardenia brighamii)

Hawaiian name: Nānū also Nā‘ū
Botanical name: Gardenia brighamii
Family: Rubiaceae (Coffee Family)
Status: Endemic, Endangered
Where found: Maui, Moloka‘i, Lāna‘i, Hawai‘i & O‘ahu
Water/Light: Dry, with full sun exposure
Elevation range: 1,0000 to 1,700 feet
Height: Up to 40 feet, with an up to 20-foot spread

Photo: David Eickhoff

Notes: Originally thought to inhabit all eight Hawaiian islands; nānū (Hawaii's native gardenia) is nearly extinct in its native habitat. Nānū wood was fashioned into kapa anvils (kua kuku) and the fragrant flowers were made into beautiful lei. The intense orange-yellow colored pulp of the fruit was used to dye kapa. Nānū is drought and wind tolerant, but can be susceptible to the same pests that like other plants in this family, like spider mites, scale, and sooty mold.

From Work Done by Whit Germano to Catalog Native Hawaiian Plants

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A Few Native Hawaiian Plants from the MNBG Collection