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
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