From Common Forest Trees of Hawaii

Psychotria hawaiiensis
Madder family (Rubiaceae)

Native species ()

The Psychotria (including Straussia) is represented in Hawaii by about 11 species of shrubs and small trees distributed in wet forests through the islands. They have paired elliptical leaves with paired elliptical broad blunt erect long-stalked branched flower clusters with many small white flowers, and many small rounded orange This species is distinguished by short reddish brown hairs on leaf-stalks, lower leaf surface, and flower clusters.

©2012 Eric White
Shrub or small tree reported to reach 33 ft (10 ) high and 1 ft (0.3 ) in trunk diameter. Bark smooth, blackish. Twigs stout, light green to gray, hairless except at ringed with large half-round leaf-scars.

Leaves with large paired light green hairless or about 3⁄8–5⁄8 inch (10–15 ) long, rounded at falling early and leaving ring scar, and with long stout light green leaf-stalks 3⁄4–1 1⁄2 inches (2–4 ) long. Blades elliptical or 4–7 inches (10-18 ) long and 2–3 1⁄2 inches (4–9 ) wide, widest beyond middle, slightly thickened or leathery, blunt or rounded at short-pointed at base, with edges straight, upper surface slightly shiny green and hairless, with and many curved side veins light yellow, lower surface slightly shiny light green with scattered pressed rusty brown hairs especially on the raised veins.

Flower clusters () erect, 3–6 inches (7.5–15 ) long, branches with rusty brown hairs. Flowers many, stalked or nearly stalkless, 1⁄4 inch (6 ) long, composed of green hairy cup () with forming wavy border; white with short tube and 4–6 spreading longer than tube; 4–6 short in notches of and with inferior two-celled short and two stigmas.

() elliptical, 1⁄4–5⁄16 inch (6–8 ) long, with at two-seeded.

The hard whitish wood of this and related species was used by the Hawaiians as the anvil or kua kukukapa for beating bark into tapa or bark cloth, and also for fuel.

Scattered in the understory of moist to dry forests to about 500–5000 ft (152–1524 ) elevation.

Special areas
Volcanoes, Kipuka Puaulu

Height 45 ft (13.7 ), c.b.h. 4.9 ft (1. 5 ), spread 30 ft (9.1 ). Hoomau Ranch, Honomolino, Hawaii (1968).

Hawaii, Molokai, and Maui

Other common names
opiko, kōpiko ‘ula

Straussia hawaiiensis Gray

The Hawaiian small Straussia with about eight species has been united with the large widespread tropical Psychotria, which has about 1500 species.

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.

stipule -- A leaf-like structure that occurs where the leaf joins the stem; stipules often occur in pairs.

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.

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

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.

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.

obovate -- Teardrop-shaped, stem attaches to tapering point.

basal -- at the base, situated or attached at the base.

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.

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.

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

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.

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