Antidesma platyphyllum

leaf Main Plant Information






  • hillebrandii
  • platyphyllum

Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • Ha'āmaile
  • Hame
  • Hamehame
  • Haʻā
  • Mehame
  • Mehamehame

Hawaiian Names

  • Haa
  • Haamaile
  • Hame
  • Hamehame
  • Mehame
  • Mehamehame


  • Antidesma platyphyllum var. subamplexicaule
  • Antidesma pulvinatum var. contractum
  • Antidesma pulvinatum var. leiogonum

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status


Endangered Species Status

No Status

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Tree

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Tree, Dwarf, Less than 15
  • Tree, Small, 15 to 30
  • Tree, Medium, 30 to 50

Mature Size, Width


Life Span

Long lived (Greater than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Accent

Additional Landscape Use Information


Plant Produces Flowers


leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type

Not Showy

Flower Colors

  • Greenish-White
  • White

Blooming Period

  • Summer
  • Fall
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October

Additional Blooming Period and Fruiting Information

The tiny flowers are rather insignificant.

Fruiting occurs in June, July, and August, and as late as October. The reddish to dark purple berries are large pea-sized, compressed and arranged along the branches. [2] The fruits are edible, sweet, and the juice stains hands and clothing. [4]

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Medium
  • Coarse

Additional Plant Texture Information

Upper surface often glossy and can be very colorful with shades of greens, reds, oranges.

The two hame species (A. platyphyllum & A. pulvinatum) can be distinguished by looking at the leaf petioles--that's the portion that connects the leaf with the twig. In A. platyphyllum the petioles are very short and curved to nearly "C-shaped;" in A. pulvinatum they are straight and long.

Leaf Colors

  • Dark Green
  • Light Green
  • Medium Green
  • Red

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information


leaf Growth Requirements


Fertilize trees every six months with 8-8-8 NPK fertilizer or foliar feed monthly.

Water Requirements

  • Moist

Soil must be well drained


Light Conditions

  • Full sun
  • Partial sun

Additional Lighting Information

Though this hame can grow in full sun, trees seem to perform and look their best when grown in partial sun or with some shading during the sunniest part of the day.


  • Organic

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

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

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • 150 to 1000, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 150 to 1000, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 1000 to 1999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 1000 to 1999, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 2000 to 2999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 2000 to 2999, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 3000 to 3999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 3000 to 3999, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 4000 to 4999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 4000 to 4999, Greater than 100 (Wet)


  • Terrestrial

Additional Habitat Information

This hame is occasionally found from 1640 to over 3600 feet in mesic to wet forest on all of the main islands except Niʻihau and Kahoʻolawe.

There are two varietal forms. Variety hillebrandii is endemic to the island of Kauaʻi; while var. platyphyllum is also Kauaʻi and on the other islands.

On Kauaʻi, it is also found in Wahiawa Bog (Kanaele Swamp); Oʻahu, from both the Waiʻanae and Koʻolau mountains; Molokaʻi, from only the eastern part of the island; found on both West and East Maui; and on Hawaiʻi Island, it can be found as low as 490 to as high 5000 feet.

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

Hame or Mehame is a member of the Phyllanthus family or Phyllanthaceae along another native species of hame (A. platyphyllum) and two other native endemics such as pāmakani māhū (Phyllanthus distichus) and the extremely rare and endangered mēhamehame (Flueggea neowawraea), one of the largest native forest trees.

A close relative generally known by its Filipino name bignay or current tree (Antidesma bunius) has fruits that taste similar to cranberries when unripe, but a tart sweet flavor when ripe. Bignay is found in Southeast Asia, the Philippines to northern Australia and are locally eaten fresh, prepared with fish, and made into jams, jellies, syrup, and even wine. [6]


The generic name Antidesma is derived from the Greek anti, against, and desma, literally headband, but used by J. Burman, friend and correspondent of Carl Linnaeus, Swedish botanist, to mean poison; the name was intended to refer to the use of a plant in the genus against snakebite.

The specific epithet platyphyllum is from the Greek platy, wide or flat, and phylla, leaf.

The varietal epithet hillebrandii is named in honor of William Hillebrand (1821-1886), a young Prussian physician and plant collector. He planted many of the plants he collected at Queen's Hospital and on his own property in Nuʻuanu. After moving back to Germany the property was sold to his neighbors Thomas & Mary Foster. Today, it is known as the Foster Botanical Gardens.

Hawaiian Name:

Mehamehame. A similar spelling Mēhamehame, with kahakō over the first "e," is the name of its very rare cousin Flueggea neowawraea.

Background Information

Individual plants are dioecious, that is, either male or female. The two varieties are distinguished primarily by the size of the fruits: var. hillebrandii (only on Kauaʻi) has larger fruit at 3/8-1/2 inch (10-12 mm) wide and more than 1/4 inch (6+mm) long; var. platyphyllum (throughout range excluding Kauaʻi) with fruits at a maximum of under 3/8 inch (8-9 mm) wide and about an 1/8 inch (3-4 mm) long.

Because of the flattened seeds and smooth leaf edges close together, hame is sometimes confused with maua (Xylosma hawaiiense).

Intermediate plants of Antidesma platyphyllum and A. pulvinatum, at least in South Kona, Hawaiʻi Island, were described by botanist Joseph Rock as Antidesma x kapuae, a punative hybrid. Hawaiʻi Botanist Joel Lau suggest that "this hybrid combination is potentially found on Oʻahu (Waiʻanae Mountains and the southeastern Koʻolau Mountains), East Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Maui (West Maui and East Maui), and Hawaiʻi."

Early Hawaiian Use

The wood is very hard, strong and durable. And being one of the heaviest native woods, it sinks in water.

Early Hawaiians, therefore, used for tools such as hut (hale) beams and frames, javelins or spears, and digging sticks (ʻōʻō). [8]


Hawaiians used the red-brown wood for kapa (tapa) beaters that were used to beat out olonā (Touchardia latifolia) fiber. [1,4]


The red fruit juice mixed with kamani oil (Calophyllum inophyllum) was used to make a bright red dye for kapa cloth, particularly for the malo (loincloth). [1,4]


The leaves were chewed and swallowed for vomiting spells. The bark, mixed with other plants, was used as a wash for ulcers and scrofulous sores. [5]

Modern Use

The book Common Forest Trees of Hawaii notes that hame "wood is reddish brown, fine-textured, and hard. The wood takes a fine polish and is suitable for cabinetwork but is not commonly found in commercial quantities. It is reported that the wood is resistent to marine borers or shipworms." [4,7]

Additional References

[1] "Plants in Hawaiian Culture" by Beatrice H. Krauss, page 65.
[2] "The Indigenous Trees of the Hawaiian Islands" by J.F. Rock, page 249.

[3] "The Names of Plants" by David Gledhill, pages 301, 305.

[4] "Common Forest Trees of Hawaii" by Elbert L. Little & Roger G. Skolmen, page 188.

[5] "Hawaiian Herbs of Medicinal Value" by D.M. Kaaiakamanu & J.K. Akina, page 39.

[6] [Accessed 2/14/11]

[7] "In Gardens of Hawaii" by Marie C. Neal, page 500.

[8] "Lāʻau Hawaiʻi: Traditional Hawaiian Uses of Plants" by Isabella Aiona Abbott, page 68.

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