From Common Forest Trees of Hawaii

Melicope anisata
Rue Or Citrus family (Rutaceae)

Native species ()

This species, known only from Kauai, is easily recognized by its strong pleasant fragrance like anise, in all parts, that persists for years. It is a small shrubby tree to 26 ft (8 ) high, with trunk to 10 inches (25 ). Bark gray, smooth, thin. Inner bark with green cap, light yellow, spicy, with strong taste and odor like anise or licorice. Twigs with minute pressed gray hairs when young, soon nearly hairless, with raised half-round leafscars. End bud narrow, composed of paired very young hairy leaves.

W. L. Wagner, Smithsonian Institution - NMNH - Botany
Leaves paired or with leaf-stalks 1⁄4–1 1⁄2 inches (6–40 ) long, with tiny hairs when young. Blades elliptical, thin, hairless, mostly rounded at both ends or slightly notched at and short-pointed at base, straight on edges, mostly 1 1⁄2–6 inches (4–15 ) long and 1–3 inches (2.5–7.5 ) wide, with several fine side veins nearly at right angle with light green above, paler beneath, with tiny dots visible under a lens.

Flower clusters () at leaf bases, usually less than 3⁄4 inch (2 ) long. Flowers of one or both sexes (polygamous), short-stalked, 1–3 (rarely 5), 1⁄4 inch (6 ) long. Male flowers are composed of four blunt less than 1⁄8 inch (3 ) long, four pointed petals slightly more than 1⁄4 inch (6 ) long, four as long as petals and four half as long, and a minute Female flowers are similar, with four petals nearly 1⁄4 inch (6 ) long, eight minute sterile and on a the with broad four- short and four-

(capsules) cube-shaped, 3⁄8–1⁄2 inch (10-13 ) broad, light green, hairless, splitting into four parts. Seeds egg-shaped, shiny black, one or two in a part. borne abundantly in early fall, especially in September, as well as in other times of the year.

The seed capsules and wood retain their fragrance for many years and were favorite perfumes of the Hawaiians, often placed in their tapa cloth. The capsules, which are symbolic of the island of Kauai, were gathered and strung into leis. However, fresh and dry capsules can cause a painful irritation on a perspiring neck, even burning through clothing. The skin will redden, blister, and peel. The chemical coumarin in the leaves causes the burning sensation, which can recur later when sensitized skin is moistened by perspiration. The leaves served also in home remedies.

The wood is yellowish white, fine-textured, tough, but rather soft. It was used by the Hawaiians for kapa beaters and for canoe trim and rigging.

Common at altitudes of 2500–4000 ft (762–1219 ) in mountains on Kauai. Collecting capsules for leis has caused the plants to become less common. Also, in the Kokee region, the plants have been crowded out by the introduced Larsen or blackberry (Rubus argutus).

Special areas
Kokee, Wahiawa

Kauai only

A few species on other islands have similar fragrance, but not so lasting. The fragrances of other species of Melicope, called alani, vary from citrus and anise to root beer scents. Hikers crush the leaves and put them in their pockets.

Pelea anisata Mann

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

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

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.

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.

cm -- A centimeter which is about 0.4 inches.

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

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

midrib -- The central and most prominent vein of a leaf or leaf-like thing.

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

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

Glands are plant structures that secrete liquids, salts or other substances. Glands often appear as hairs with a drop of liquid at the end.

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

Usually green, sepals typically function as protection for the flower in bud, and often as support for the petals when in bloom.

cyme -- Multiple flower stalks emerge from a single point and the flowers at the end bloom first.

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

stigma - The tip of a pistil that receives the pollen.

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.

disc flowers are those in the center of a sunflower or daisy. Not a ray flower.

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.

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

The botanical term "berry" is different from common usage. Strawberries and raspberries are not berries. But a tomatoe is. A true berry is a fruit with the seeds immersed in the pulp.