From Common Forest Trees of Hawaii

Rhus sandwicensis
Sumac family (Anacardiaceae)

Native species ()

Small native tree forming thickets in lowlands, with large leaves and wavy paired except at end, and with whitish almost tasteless sap. To 15–25 ft (4.5–7.6 ) high and 4–12 inches (0.1–43 ) in trunk diameter, spreading by stems from creeping roots. Bark brown gray, smooth. Inner bark whitish within the green outer layer, bitter. Twigs stout, light green, with rusty brown pressed hairs and with hairy rounded buds above U-shaped leaf-scars.

©2015 Forest And Kim Starr
Leaves large, 12–18 inches (30–46 ) long, with yellow green hairy axis round and enlarged at base, not winged. mostly 11–15, paired and almost stalkless except one at end, lance-shaped or oblong, 2–4 inches (5–10 ) long and 1–2 inches (2.5–5 ) wide, long-pointed at rounded and unequal-sided at base, wavy thin, with many nearly straight side veins raised beneath, above dull green and almost hairless, beneath paler and finely hairy, red when young and again turning red before falling.

Flower clusters () are erect, very large, 6–12 inches (15–30 ) long, much branched, and finely hairy. Flowers very numerous, crowded, small, about 1⁄8 inch (3 ) long and broad, short-stalked, pale yellow, composed of of five hairy green united at base, of five petals spreading and turned back, five and with and two or three short

() egg-shaped, more than 1⁄8 inch (3 ) long, flattened, reddish, hairy, single-seeded.

The wood is described as yellowish gray with dark resinous streaks, lightweight, coarse-textured, and tough. It has been used for saddle trees on Hawaiian ranches. Formerly, it served for ox yokes and plows. The bark has been used locally for tanning goat skins. According to Degener, a keg of bark was shipped to Boston in 1868. Again in 1918, commercial use was considered but was abandoned because of a fungal disease that killed some plants. The shrubs are showy and ornamental.

Neneleau is found in the lowland forest zone at 600–2000 ft (183–6190 ) elevation or above. Common on the island of Hawaii and uncommon and in scattered or isolated thickets in Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, and Maui. It is common along highways near Hilo, Hawaii, and along the Hamakua coast.

Special area

Hawaii only

Other common name

Rhus chinensis var. sandwicensis (Gray) Deg. & Greenwell, R. semialata Murr. var. sandwicensis (Gray) Engler

This is the only native Hawaiian representative of its family. Several introduced species are better known.

The Hawaiian plants have been treated also as a variety of the Asiatic species Chinese sumac, Rhus chinensis Mill., which ranges from Japan through southern China to India. That species differs in that the leaf axes are winged and it has larger red 5⁄16 inch (8 ) in diameter, reported to be edible.

cm -- A centimeter which is about 0.4 inches.

A leaf is compound when multiple leaflets are on the same stem.

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

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.

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

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

terminal -- Located at the end (the tip or the apex).

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

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.

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

deciduous plants are those that lose all of their leaves for part of the year.

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.

leaflets -- Each little leaf-like thing in a compound leaf is a leaflet.

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.

calyx -- the sepals of a flower, typically forming a whorl that encloses the petals and forms a protective layer around a flower in bud.

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

pinnate -- A compound leaf with two rows of leaflets.

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.