‘Ohai (Sesbania tomentosa)

Hawaiian name: ‘Ohai
Botanical name: Sesbania tomentosa
Family: Fabaceae (Pea Family)
Status: Endemic, Endangered
Where found: All Hawaiian Islands
Water/Light: Dry, with full sun exposure
Elevation range: 0 to 2,500 feet
Height: 18 inches, with an up to10 foot spread

From Work Done by Whit Germano to Catalog Native Hawaiian Plants

Photo courtesy of Jupiter Nielsen

Notes: Depending on the natural location, ‘ohai flowers can be found in colors from light to dark red, subtle to bright orange, apricot to yellow. While highly prized for lei making, this plant is so rare that few have ever seen a lei ‘ohai. On sunny days, the leaf clusters near the stem have a fragrance that resembles the scent of nectarines. ‘Ohai is drought, wind, salt and heat tolerant.

Photo: Starr

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A Few Native Hawaiian Plants from the MNBG Collection