Hawaiian Names with Diacritics
- Hawaii ohe
- Tetraplasandra hawaiensis
Endangered Species Status
Plant Form / Growth Habit
Mature Size, Height (in feet)
- Tree, Small, 15 to 30
- Tree, Medium, 30 to 50
- Tree, Large, Greater than 50
Long lived (Greater than 5 years)
- Provides Shade
- Specimen Plant
Additional Landscape Use Information
These beautiful trees are relatively easy to grow and a very rewarding addition to the landscape. Depending on the origin of ʻohe, some trees are tall and narrow with few side branches and little canopy; others are shorter and branching having a wider canopy. So considering the variability of ʻohe, it may be advantageous to inquire of the habit, or stature, of the trees desiring to be used to suit your specific landscape needs and planting location. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]
Source of Fragrance
- No Fragrance
Plant Produces Flowers
- Dark Green
- Gray / Silverish
- Medium Green
Additional Leaf Color Information
The beautiful leaves of ʻohe are glabrous (without hairs) and medium to dark green above with yellowish or silverish tomentose (hairs) underneath. The trees can be recognized from a distance when the wind blows flashing the bright fuzzy under surface of the leaves. [Robert Hobdy, Botanist]
Responds well to fertilizers. [Ethan Romanchak, Native Nursery, LLC]
None required to maintain this beautiful tree.
Soil must be well drained
- Full sun
- Partial sun
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)
Additional Habitat Information
These trees occurs in mesic to wet forests from about 500 to over 2600 feet.
This endemic shares the Aralia or Ginseng Family (Araliaceae) with other fascinating natives as ʻōlapa (Cheirodendron spp.), the unique pōkalakala (Polyscias racemosa), and ʻohe makai (Polyscias sandwicensis), the latter being one of the few deciduous native Hawaiian trees.
There are a total of 16 native species in Araliaceae in the Hawaiian Islands. All but one, the questionably indigenous pohe (Hydrocotyle verticillata), are endemic.
The former generic name Tetraplasandra is derived from the Greek tetraplasios, 4-fold, and andra, stamens, referring to the plant having four times the stamens as petals in some individuals.
The new generic name Polyscias is from the Greek word "many-shades" in reference to the foliage.
The specific epithet hawaiensis refers to Hawaiʻi.
The Hawaiian name ʻohe has at times been called ʻoheʻohe, a name also belonging to two other native species Polyscias gymnocarpa and P. kavaiensis.
ʻOhe also refers to a few other non-related plants: a rare endemic joinvillea (Joinvillea ascendens subsp. ascendens), an endemic grass (Isachne distichophylla), and the Polynesian introduced bamboo (Schizostachyum glaucifolium), as a well as the native lowland relative Polyscias sandwicensis, otherwise known as ʻohe makai. 
The wood is said to be "white with a silvery luster, without distinct heartwood. It is lightweight, finetextured, straight-grained, and of moderate hardness." 
Early Hawaiian Use
The fruits were used medicinally for babies. The mother would eat the fruits feed her baby through breast milk to cure pāʻaoʻao (childhood disease, with physical weaknesses) and ʻea (thrush) with no side effects. 
 http://wehewehe.org [Accessed 6/18/10]
 "Native Hawaiian Medicine--Volume III" by The Rev. Kaluna M. Kaʻaiakamanu, page 79.
 "Recircumscription of Polyscias (Araliaceae) to include six related genera, with a new infrageneric classification and a synopsis of species" by Porter P. Lowry II and Gregory M. Plunkett, page 61.
 "Common Forest Trees of Hawaii (Native and Introduced)" by Elbert L. Little Jr. and Roger G. Skolmen, page 306.
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