Anoectochilus sandvicensis

leaf Main Plant Information





Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • Hono hono
  • Honohono

Common Names

  • Hawaiʻi jewel-orchid
  • Hawaiʻi jeweled orchid


  • Anoectochilus apiculatus
  • Anoectochilus jaubertii
  • Odontochilus apiculatus
  • Odontochilus jaubertii
  • Odontochilus sandvicensis
  • Vrydagzynea sandvicensis

Names with Unknown Sources

  • Hono hono
  • Honohono

Did You Know…?

The Hawaiʻi jewel-orchid is one of only three native Hawaiian orchids. All three are uncommon to very rare and are small plants with rather inconspicuous flowers.

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status


Endangered Species Status

At Risk

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Non-Woody, Spreading

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

No data available.

Life Span

No data available.

Landscape Uses

  • Accent
  • Container

Plant Produces Flowers


leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type

Not Showy

Flower Colors

  • Green
  • Yellow

Additional Flower Color Information

The flowers are not showy until discovering them.

Blooming Period

  • Sporadic
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • January
  • March
  • June
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

Additional Blooming Period and Fruiting Information

The cited information notes that this species irregularly flowers "from August through December." [1] However, photo data suggests that it may sporadically flower throughout the year.

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Medium

Leaf Colors

  • Light Green
  • Medium Green

leaf Pests and Diseases

leaf Growth Requirements

Water Requirements

  • Moist
  • Wet

Additional Water Information

They seem do best with rain or reverse osmosis water. [David Eickhoff, NPH]

Light Conditions

  • Partial sun
  • Shade


  • Organic

Special Growing Needs

They can be challenging to grow if not given organic conditions as mentioned in the preceding information. [David Eickhoff, NPH]

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Kauaʻi
  • Oʻahu
  • Molokaʻi
  • Lānaʻi
  • Maui
  • Hawaiʻi

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • 1000 to 1999, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 2000 to 2999, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 3000 to 3999, Greater than 100 (Wet)


  • Terrestrial

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

Anoectochilus belong to a genus of about 60 species in the Orchid family (Orchidaceae) extending from Malesia, India, and southeastern Asia to Japan and some Pacific islands. They are often called "Jewel orchids" because of the sometimes attractive foliage. Anoectochilus sandvicensis is the only endemic species in this genus.

A. sandvicensis is one of three endemic Hawaiian species. The other two are the Hawaiʻi twayblade (Liparis hawaiensis) and the very rare Hawaii bog orchid (Platanthera holochila).

There is also about a dozen naturalized species of orchids, including some of the more familiar terrestrials such as the Bamboo orchid (Arundina graminifolia), Chinese ground or Nun's orchid (Phaius tankervilleae), and the Philippine ground orchid (Spathoglottis plicata)---the latter seeming to pop up here and there in gardens or with potted plants.


The generic name Anoectochilus is derived from the Greek anoiktos, open, and chelios, lip, in reference to the lip of the flower that has an open appearance because of the sharp bend of the middle lobe.

The specific epithet sandvicensis refers to the "Sandwich Islands," as the Hawaiian Islands were once called, and named by James Cook on one of his voyages in the 1770s. James Cook named the islands after John Montagu (The fourth Earl of Sandwich) for supporting Cook's voyages.

Hawaiian name:

Honohono, or possibly Hono hono, has been used for this native orchid. But reference sources are needed to verify the validity of this name for Anoectochilus sandvicensis.

Honohono is the name of an endangered native mint (Haplostachys haplostachya), as well as the naturalized Wandering Jew or Dayflower (Commelina diffusa) is spelled as one word honohono.

Background Information

This is the showiest and most variable of the three species of orchids endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. The species has been sometimes divided into two or three separate species. [1,2]

However, currently has been accepted by most as a single species with variant forms.

Early Hawaiian Use

None known as yet.

Modern Use

Although A. sandvicensis is not known to have medicinal or other uses, researchers in Taiwan have investigated the use of it's relative, Anoectochilus formosanus, as an anti-inflammatory agent, an anti-depression agent, and even for use against the virus influenza A. [3,4]

Additional References

[1] "The Native Orchids of the United States and Canada Excluding Florida" by Carlyle A. Luer, page 136.

[2] The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species [Accessed on 7/1/13]

[3] Encyclopedia of Life [Accessed on 7/1/13]

[4] National Center for Biotechnology Information [Accessed on 7/1/13]

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This record is as complete as we can generate for this plant profile at this point. Please email if you wish to contribute to the data. Please include sources and references for all data submitted