From Common Forest Trees of Hawaii

Hawai'i Holly
Ilex anomala
Holly family (Aquifoliaceae)

Native species ()

Hawaii has one native tree species related to the American holly of eastern continental United States, which is in the same This handsome tree has elliptical leathery leaves, many small white flowers, and clusters of small rounded black

©2009 Forest And Kim Starr
A medium-sized tree to 30 ft (9 ) high and 1 ft (0.3 ) in trunk diameter, often a small shrub, with hairless throughout. Bark light to dark gray, smooth. Inner bark with outer green layer, light yellow with brown streaks, bitter. Twigs stout, slightly angled, light green, with raised half-round leaf-scars. End buds more than 1⁄8 inch (3 ) long, composed of pointed which form a ring around the twig to mark the end of season’s growth.

Leaves but partly crowded, with light green leaf-stalks 1⁄4–3⁄4 inch (6–20 ) long, flattened above. Blades elliptical, mostly 1 1⁄2–3 1⁄2 inches (4–9 ) long and 1–2 1⁄2 inches (2.5–6 ) wide, thick, stiff, brittle, and leathery, rounded or blunt at both ends, turned under at edges (rarely with teeth, except on seedlings), above shiny dark green with network of fine veins slightly sunken, beneath dull light green with inconspicuous veins.

Flower clusters (cymose ) 1–3 inches (2.5–7.5 ) long at leaf bases, the long stalk and branches flattened. Flowers are many, short-stalked, from rounded greenish buds, male and female on different plants (), about 1⁄2 inch (13 ) broad. less than 1⁄8 inch (3 ) long, greenish, with 4-5 rounded white, sometimes pink-tinged, composed of short tube and 6–12 widely spreading rounded 1⁄8 inch (3 ) long; as many as attached in notches, white, in female flowers short and not functioning; and with rounded yellow green 12–20-celled no and as many crowded short stigmas as cells, in male flowers small and not functioning.

() common on twigs behind leaves, rounded but slightly flattened, about 5⁄16–3⁄8 inch (8–10 ) in diameter, shiny black, smooth, with and stigmas remaining, bitter. Nutlets 10–20, 1⁄8 inch (3 ) long.

Wood is whitish, or grayish yellow with lighter colored sapwood, hard. It was prized by the Hawaiians for canoe trimmings and to make the anvil on which bark was beaten into bark cloth or tapa. It has also been used for saddle trees.

Common and widespread in open wet forests through the six larger islands, to 6500 ft (1981 ) altitude.

Special areas
Kokee, Haleakala, Volcanoes

Height 45 ft (13.7 ), c.b.h. 3.9 ft (1.2 ), spread 32 ft (9.8 ). Honaunau Forest Reserve, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii (1968).

Hawaiian Islands only

Other common names
kā‘awa‘u, ‘aiea

The name kāwa‘u has been applied occasionally to Styphelia, Mezoneuron, and Zanthoxylum also.

Ilex sandwicensis (Endl.) Loess., I. hawaiensis S. Y. Hu.

This very variable species and a few close relatives in Polynesia are classed as the most primitive for the of more than 350 species of wide, mostly tropical distribution. The Marquesan and Tahitian trees are scarcely distinguishable from those of Hawaii.

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

cm -- A centimeter which is about 0.4 inches.

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

dioecious -- When male and female reproductive structures are on separate plants.

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

style -- This is a long and thread-like structure that connects the stigma with the ovary. A flower may have a single style, or several of them.

scale -- A very small leaf around a dormant bud. Also other things that might remind one of fish scales on the surface of ferns, stems and the like.

alternate -- leaves alternate along the main stem and are attached singly.

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.

lobe -- Rounded parts of a leaf (or other organ). Lobes bulge out about 1/4 of the leaf diameter.

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.

drupe -- A fruit in which an outer fleshy part surrounds a hardened shell containing a seed. A peach is a drupe. A raspberry is composed of drupelets.

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

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.

Irregular flowers, such as those of the violet or the pea, are often bilaterally symmeteric. These flowers typically have petals of unequal size or shape.

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

corolla -- The name for all the petals of a flower taken together.

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.

genus -- A subdivision of a botanical Family in which all members have a significant number of similar characteristics.