Madder family (Rubiaceae)
Native species ()
This common handsome shrub or small tree of wide distribution in dry lowlands has a round or shiny bright green leaves, which are paired, small, and elliptical, the small fragrant white flowers, and small rounded black To 20 ft (6 ) high and 4 inches (10 ) in trunk diameter, smaller in exposed areas. Trunk very straight, erect, with distinctly horizontal branches. Bark light to dark gray, smoothish; inner bark pale yellow or light brown, slightly bitter. Twigs hairless, green when young, slightly four-angled with rings at enlarged becoming gray and slightly scaly.
©2006 Forest And Kim Starr
Flower clusters (cymose ) less than 1 inch (2.5 ) long at leaf bases, flattened. Flowers many, fragrant, on slender stalks 5⁄16 inch (8 ) long, composed of green base () less than 1⁄8 inch (3 ) long bearing five teeth and tubular white 3⁄16 inch (5 ) long bearing five finely hairy meeting at edges in bud; five short attached in notches of and with inferior two-celled slender and slightly two-
() are rounded, 5⁄16 inch (8 ) in diameter, black, with a ring at juicy, containing two stones or nutlets.
Wood whitish or light brown, very hard, reported to be durable. Hawaiians used it for tools in tilling the soil and for adze blades for cuffing softer woods such as kukui and wiliwili.
It is reported that the leaves provided a black dye. Common and widespread in dry areas from sea level to 3800 ft (1158 ) altitude through the islands, even on exposed windswept slopes.
Waimea Arboretum, Wahiawa, Bishop Museum, Kamehameha School Hawaiian Garden, Volcanoes
Height 39 ft (11.9 ), c.b.h. 3.7 ft (1. 1 ), spread 18 ft (5.5 ). Puuwaawaa, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii (1968).
Through Hawaiian Islands, and in Polynesia but not New Zealand, New Hebrides, or Fiji. One of several native tree species not confined or to Hawaii.
Other common names
walahe‘e, plectronia, ‘ōhe‘e
Canthium odoratum (G. Forst.) Seem.
Plectronia odorata (G. Forst.) F. Muell.