Liparis hawaiensis

leaf Main Plant Information





Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • ʻAwapuhi a Kanaloa
  • ʻAwapuhiakanaloa

Hawaiian Names

  • Awapuhi a Kanaloa
  • Awapuhiakanaloa

Common Names

  • Hawaiʻi widelip orchid
  • Twayblade


  • Leptorchis hawaiensis

Did You Know…?

ʻAwapuhiakanaloa is one of only three native Hawaiian orchids. All three are uncommon to very rare and are small plants with rather inconspicuous flowers. Nonetheless, they are part of the Hawaiian Islands unique flora!

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status


Endangered Species Status

At Risk

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Non-Woody, Clumping

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Herbaceous, Short, Less than 1
  • Herbaceous, Medium, 1-3

Life Span

No data available.

Landscape Uses

  • Accent
  • Container

Additional Landscape Use Information

Not known to be used in landscapes. Perhaps best suited as a potted plant.

Plant Produces Flowers


leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type

Not Showy

Flower Colors

  • Green

Additional Flower Color Information

Small flowers are pale green.

Blooming Period

  • Sporadic
  • Spring
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • October
  • November

Additional Blooming Period and Fruiting Information

The satlk of larger plants may reach over a foot tall and have a dozen or more flowers on a slender raceme. [3]

Information suggest that it blooms from May through July. [3] But from photo data, this orchid does primarily bloom in the spring into the summer, but also appears sporadic at other times of the year.

Green fruits appear after blooming, ripening to a brownish color, and then splitting to release dust-like fine seeds.

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Fine

Additional Plant Texture Information

Two small leaves imerge from each pseudoblub.

Leaf Colors

  • Light Green

Additional Leaf Color Information

Leaves are pale green.

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

Slugs love to eat the leaves.

leaf Growth Requirements

Water Requirements

  • Moist
  • Wet

Light Conditions

  • Shade


  • Waterlogged Soil


  • Organic

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

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

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • 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)


  • Epiphyte
  • Terrestrial

Additional Habitat Information

ʻAwapuhiakanaloa is found from about 1600 to over 5000 feet on bryophyte-covered trees, under bushes, and on wet or sometimes seasonally wet, bare ground, in bogs, and mesic to wet forest as epiphytic or terrestrial plants on all the main islands except Niʻihau and Kahoʻolawe. Epiphytic plants are smaller. [3]

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

Liparis, also known as twayblade or false twayblade, belong to a genus of about 200 species in the Orchid family (Ordidaceae). Liparis hawaiensis is the only endemic species in this genus.

ʻAwapuhiakanaloa (Liparis hawaiensis) is one of three endemic Hawaiian species. The other two are the Hawaiʻi jewel orchid (Anoectochilus sandvicensis) 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 Liparis is derived from the Greek liparos, oily or smooth, in reference to the glossy surface of the leaves of species of the genus.

The specific epithet hawaiensis refers to Hawaiʻi Island where this species is found.

Hawaiian Name:

Of the three native orchids, ʻAwapuhiakanaloa is the only one known to have a Hawaiian name.

ʻAwapuhiakanaloa means "the ginger of the seagod Kanaloa." [1] Ordinarily, the word ʻawapuhi refers to ginger, but ancient Hawaiians made relationships between things in different ways than those the Western world created, so the tiny flower of this orchid probably resembles the small flowers of the wild ginger (Zingiber zerumbet), and perhaps the ancient Hawaiians named the ginger after the orchid. [2]

Background Information

Liparis hawaiensis is very similar to the Liparis in Southeast Asia. Though Liparis are not found in the western part of North America, it is strangely reminiscent of Loesel’s twayblade (Liparis loeselii) of eastern North America and west and central Europe. However, L. hawaiensis is a larger plant with conical pseudobulbs. The greenish flowers are also similar to L. loeselii, but nearly twice as large. [3]

Additional References

[1] [Accessed on 6/17/13]

[2] "Hawaiian Orchids" article by Serge Kahili King. [Accessed on 6/20/13]

[3] "The Native Orchids of the United States and Canada Excluding Florida" by Carlyle A. Luer, page 312.

leafMore Links

Back to Plant List

Plant List

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