Pōkalakala (Polyscias racemosa)

Hawaiian name: Pōkalakala
Botanical name: Polyscias racemosa (formally Munroidendron)
Family: Araliaceae (Ginseng family)
Status: Endemic, Endangered
Where found: Kaua’i
Water/Light: Dry, with full to partial sunlight
Elevation range: 350 to 1,300 feet
Height: 15 to 30 feet

Notes: The endangered pōkalakala is native to the island of Kaua‘i, but can be seen growing at Maui Nui Botanical Gardens. Although it is one of the rarest Hawaiian trees, it is quite easy to grow in cultivation. How pōkalakala was used by early Hawaiians remains unknown, but modern day kapa makers have found that the fruits produce a rich purple dye when wet, which becomes a lighter plum color when dry. Pōkalakala is drought, wind and salt tolerant.

*Photo by Anya Tagawa

From Work Done by Whit Germano to Catalog Native Hawaiian Plants

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