Native Plants

Native Plant List for Hawaii

This is a "starter" list of native plants for Hawaii. It is intended for residential or commercial landscapers who want to create attractive and varied native landscapes.

Hawaii Trees

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Moisture Height Comments
Broom Sedge Andropogon virginicus F-P D-W 4' Green leaves/stems turn purple & bright orange in fall
Tussock Sedge Carex stricta F-P A-W 2-3' Evergreen; blue flowers dissappear quickly; likes full sun
Three-way Sedge Dulichium arundinaceum F-P W 1-2' Will thrive in up to 2" standing water; resembles bambo
Squarestem Spikerush Eleocharis quadrangulata F-P W 24" 4-sided stems; wetland plant
Virginia Wild Rye Elymus virginicus P-S D-A 3' Distinguished by relatively stiff, erect spikes
Purple Love Grass Eragrostis spectabilis F A 18-24" Fluffy clouds of bronze-red inflorescences summer/fall
Canada Rush Juncus canadensis F-P A-W 3' Rapid growth; green foliage & flower
Smooth Rush Juncus effusus F-P A-W 3' Bright green cylindrical stems without nodes, no leaves
Switch Panic Grass Panicum virgatum F-P D-W 4-6' Bluish cast in summer; reddish fall color
Little Bluestem Schizachyrium scoparium F-P D-A 2-4' Bright green to light blue leaves turn copper, orange
Cottongrass Bulrush Scirpus cyperinus F W-A 3-5' Clumping grass-like perennial; wooly seed heads in fall
Yellow Indian Grass Sorghastrum nutans F-P A-D 3-6' Foliage varies from drooping & green to upright and blue

Hawaii Shrubs

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Moisture Height     Comments
Ewa Hinahina Achyranthes splendens 2-6' Small, silvery grey-green shrub.
Maile Alyxia oliviformis F-P D-A Small flowers represent the 4 mythic Maile sisters of hula.
'Anapanapa Colubrina asiatica 3-10' Tough. Can be vine-like. Wind- and salt-tolerant.
'A'ali'i Dodonaea viscosa Wind-tolerant. Round. Bright red seeds.
Ma'o Gossypium tomentosum 1.5-5' Bright yellow flowers year-round.
Ma'o Hau Hele Hibiscus brackenridgei D 3-15' Hawaiian state flower. Large yellow flowers.
Naio Myoporum sandwicense D Smells of sandalwood. Conspicuous flowers.
'Ulei Osteomeles anthyllidifolia White, fragrant blossoms. Round fruit.
Beach Naupaka Scaevola sericea 3-10' Dense, spreading. White/cream colored fragrant flowers.
'Ilima Sida fallax 5-10' Popular lei flowers.
Pohinahina Vitex rotundifolia Drought-tolerant. Hardy. Velvety, silvery leaves.

Hawaii Flowering Perennials

Common Name Scientific Name     Comments
Nehe Lipochaeta integrifolia Small, sprawling plant with small yellow flowers.
'Uki 'Uki Dianella sandwicensis Durable plant with purple berries used for dye.

Hawaii Perennial Ferns

Common Name Scientific Name     Comments
Pala Palai Microlepia strigosa Used in ceremonies and in making leis.
'Ama'u Sadleria pallida 2'-3' fronds change color with age.
Sun Exposure Soil Moisture Drought Tolerance
F = Full Sun W = Wet E = Excellent
P = Part Sun A = Average G = Good
S = Shade D = Dry M = Moderate
P = Poor

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