From Common Forest Trees of Hawaii

Cheirodendron platyphyllum
Ivy/Pennywort/Devil's Club family (Araliaceae)

Native species ()

Lapalapa is an aromatic small tree scattered in wet forests of mountains of Oahu and Kauai. It is distinguished by paired large leaves with three broad half-round wider than long, sometimes with few teeth on edges, continuously trembling on their long slender stalks. Crushed foliage and bark have an odor like that of carrot or oil and a spicy or turpentine taste.

©2007 David Eickhoff
A small tree to 26 ft (8 ) high and 8 inches (20 ) in trunk diameter, with rounded open hairless throughout. Bark gray, smoothish; inner bark greenish, slightly spicy, aromatic. Twigs stout, enlarged and ringed at with raised half-round leaf-scars, purplish, becoming brownish, weak, and brittle.

Leaves 4–8 inches (10–20 ) long, with very slender purplish or greenish leaf-stalks 2–4 inches (5–10 ) long, slightly flattened, enlarged and slightly clasping at base. three, spreading on slender flattened stalks of 1 1⁄4–2 inches (3–5 ). Blades half-round or broadly wider than long, 1 1⁄2–3 1⁄4 inches (4–8 ) long and 2–4 inches (5–10 ) wide, rounded with abrupt narrow point at nearly straight at base, edges often with few small teeth, slightly thickened, upper surface shiny green with many fine straight side veins, lower surface dull light green.

Flower clusters () 4–6 inches (10–15 ) long, with many slender forking purplish branches and many flowers spreading on short equal stalks (). Flowers 1⁄4 inch (6 ) long, purplish, composed of cuplike base () 1⁄8 inch (3 ) long, of five tiny teeth, five narrow spreading petals 1⁄8 inch (3 ) long and shedding early, five short and with inferior five-celled and five-dot-like stigmas (parts sometimes in fours).

(berries) are round, about 1⁄4 inch (6 ) in diameter, shiny purplish black, with a ring of and stigmas at with spicy flesh, five-angled when dry. Seeds (nutlets) five or fewer, more than 1⁄8 inch (3 ) long, brown.

Soft whitish wood will burn when freshly cut. No other uses are reported. It is quite likely that the tree had uses similar to those of ‘olapa (C. trigynum). The leaves and bark were probably used to make a bluish dye, and poles were probably cut from the tree because it is soft and easily cut.

Common in wet forests and swamps at middle altitudes of 2200–5000 ft (671–1524 ) on Kauai and Oahu. On Oahu confined to summit ridges of Koolau Range and swamp on top of Mt. Kaala.

Oahu and Kauai only

Cheirodendron kauaiense Krajina

node -- The point at which there is attached growth, as in the place where each leaf is attached.

cm -- A centimeter which is about 0.4 inches.

m -- A meter is about 10% larger than a yard.

endemic -- when restricted to a certain country or area.

The apex is the tip or the furthest point from the attachment.

terminal -- Located at the end (the tip or the apex).

A panicle is a much-branched inflorescence. The bottom flowers in a panicle open first.

A pistil is the female structure of many flowers. It contains one or more carpels. Each carpel contins an ovary, style and stigma. The stigma receives the pollen which grows thru the style to reach the ovary.

An evergreen tree retains a large portion of its green leaves all year.

An umbel is a collection of flowers on short stalks which spread from a common point, somewhat like umbrella ribs.

In an opposite leaf arrangement the leaves come in pairs with one leaf on each side of a stem.

calyx -- the sepals of a flower, typically forming a whorl that encloses the petals and forms a protective layer around a flower in bud.

fruit -- any seed-bearing structure in flowering plants. It is formed from the ovary after flowering.

A leaf is compound when multiple leaflets are on the same stem.

canopy -- The foliage of a tree; the crown. Also the upper layer of a forest.

leaflets -- Each little leaf-like thing in a compound leaf is a leaflet.

synonym -- In botany a synonym is a species name that at one time was thought to be the correct name for a plant but was later found to be incorrect and has been replaced by a new name.

The hypanthium or floral cup is a cup-like structure formed by the fused bases of the stamens, petals, and sepals.

mm -- millimeter. About 1/25th of an inch.

ovate -- Oval, egg-shaped, with a tapering point.

stamen -- the pollen-producing reproductive organ of a flower; The stamen consists of an anther supported by a filament.

An ovary is a part of the female reproductive organ of the flower. Above the ovary is the style and the stigma, which is where the pollen lands and germinates to grow down through the style to the ovary.