From Common Forest Trees of Hawaii

Pipturus albidus
Nettle family (Urticaceae)

Native species ()

This variable species (in the broad sense including closely related species) is characterized by leaves with wavy edges, three main veins from base, and under surface light gray or brown and finely hairy. The fibrous bark was an important source of tapa or paper cloth.

©2010 Forest And Kim Starr
A small tree to 30 ft (9 ) high and 1 ft (0.3 ) in trunk diameter, or a shrub, with long drooping branches. Bark light brown, smooth, with scattered raised dots. Inner bark streaked green, fibrous, mucilaginous, and almost tasteless. Twigs finely gray hairy, slightly enlarged at and often slightly zigzagging.

Leaves varying greatly in shape, size, and hairiness, with slender finely hairy leaf-stalks of 1–3 inches (2.5–7.5 ). Blades are or elliptical, 2 1⁄2–8 inches (6–20 ) long and 1 1⁄4–6 inches (3–15 ) wide, thin or slightly thickened, long-pointed at blunt or rounded at base, with wavy edges, with 3 main veins from base slightly sunken and often reddish, upper surface green and slightly rough, under surface mostly light gray and finely hairy. Microscopic mineral growths (cystoliths) like crystals are present. Flower clusters (heads) stalkless at leaf bases, rounded, 1⁄4–1⁄2 inch (6–13 ) in diameter, gray hairy.

Flowers male and female mostly in different clusters on the same plant (), many, stalkless, without Male flowers less than 1⁄8 inch (3 ) long, composed of cup-shaped 4- finely hairy and four Female flowers with urn-shaped four- finely hairy and hairy with and long

a dry whitish ball about 1⁄2 inch (13 ) across. Individual are many, rounded, with enlarged dry enclosing one seed () 1⁄16 inch (1. 5 ) long, elliptical and flattened, shiny.

Wood is dull reddish brown with pale whitish sapwood. Soft and fine-textured, it is easily worked.

The early Haweaiians prepared their tapa, kapa, or paper cloth from the bark of this native tree and from the introduced wauke or paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera (L.) Vent.). This cloth served for clothing and bed covering. Rope and cord were made from the long strong fibers. The were used in home remedies. The young leaves made a good tea that was used as a tonic.

This species of mamaki in the broad sense is distributed through the islands in moderately wet to wet forests at 200–6000 ft (61–1829 ) altitude. The three other Hawaiian species currently accepted are Pipturus forbesii Krajina of east Maui, P. kauaiensis Heller of Kauai, and P. ruber Heller of Kauai.

Special areas
Wahiawa, Haleakala, Volcanoes, Kipuka Puaulu

Height 28 ft (8.5 ), c. b. h. 2.8 ft (0.9 ), spread 33 ft (10.1 ). Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii (1968).

Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and Hawaii

Other common name

Pipturus brighamii Skottsb., P. gaudichaudianus Wedd., P. hawaiiensis Levl., P. hel-Skottsb., P. oahuensis Skottsb., P. pachyphyllus Skottsb., P. pterocarpus Skottsb., P. rockii Skottsb., P. skottsbergii Krajina.

Mamaki is the favorite food plant of the green caterpillar that becomes the beautiful reddish brown Kamehameha butterfly, according to Degener.

Another Hawaiian plant, ‘ākōlea, Boehmeria grandis (Hook. & Arn.) Heller, is also reported in old accounts as mamake or mamaki. It is a shrub with reddish leaves arranged like Pipturus but smooth, and not hairy, and that are long and dangling. Both species were used by the Hawaiians for similar purposes.

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.

achene -- a type of simple dry fruit produced by many species of flowering plants. For example, a rose hip holds a few achenes.

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

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

monoecious -- all flowers have both sexes; or both sexes in different flowers on the same plant.

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.

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

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

Like the teeth on a saw, leaves and other surfaces can have toothed edges.

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.

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

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

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.

An inflorescence is a group or cluster of flowers arranged on a stem.

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.

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

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

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

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.