Hawaiian Names with Diacritics
- Wahine ʻōmaʻo
- Wahine omao
- Beach pea
- Notched cowpea
- Dolichos luteus
- Phaseolus marinus
- Scytalis anomala
- Vigna luteus
- Vigna retusa
Endangered Species Status
Plant Form / Growth Habit
- Non-Woody, Spreading
Mature Size, Height (in feet)
- Herbaceous, Short, Less than 1
Mature Size, Width
Each plant can grow from 5 to 15 feet or more.
Short lived (Less than 5 years)
- Erosion Control
- Ground Cover
- Trellis or Fence Climber
Additional Landscape Use Information
The nitrogen-fixing nanea will provide other plants growing in the area with a ready source of free fertilizer in the form of nitrogen. This vine is great for open, sunny areas as a groundcover and especially good for beach front properties.  Give nanea plenty of room to spread. The beautiful bright yellow flowers look contrast nicely against a dark background such as black or red cinder.
Source of Fragrance
- No Fragrance
Plant Produces Flowers
Additional Flower Color Information
Nanea, or mohihihi, have slightly waxy, pea-shaped yellow green to bright yellow flowers which may not be visible.
Additional Blooming Period and Fruiting Information
A perennial. Nanea seed pods turn brown upon ripening and being dehiscent...that is, explosive!, the seeds will be scattered over the immediate area. Seedlings will appear in rainy weather or when the area is watered.
Additional Plant Texture Information
Leaves range from 1 1/2 to over 4 inches long.
- Medium Green
Additional Leaf Color Information
Nanea leaves are diamond-shaped and are sparsely to moderately covered with course hairs.
Additional Pest & Disease Information
This vining groundcover is prone to ants, spider mites, leaf miners, and seed weevils.
These nitrogen-fixing vines do not require additional nitrogen in fertilizer. Foliar feeding in early morning with a water-soluble or an organic fertilizer (e.g. kelp or fish emulsion) at one-third to one-fourth the recommended strength monthly has proved beneficial. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]
As a sprawling vine, nanea may require trimming back to confine to growing areas. Pruning also encourages new and fuller growth.
Additional Water Information
Water in plants then water weekly if weather is dry. Allow drying between waterings.
Soil must be well drained
- Full sun
- Partial sun
Additional Lighting Information
Nanea, or mohihihi, does best in full sun but tolerates partial shade. [Rick Barboza, Hui Kū Maoli Ola]
Plants should be spaced 1 to 3 ft. apart. They spread rapidly as a groundcover.
- Salt Spray
Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)
- Less than 150, 0 to 50 (Dry)
- 150 to 1000, 0 to 50 (Dry)
Additional Habitat Information
Nanea is known to grow at the vegetation line on sandy beaches. Rarely found inland on sea cliffs and dry shrubby slopes to about 395 feet.
The indigenous nanea, or mohihihi, is one of three Vigna species native to the Hawaiian Islands and a member of the Pea family (Fabaceae).
Another indigenous species, the wild pea (Vigna adenantha), was found on Oʻahu (Diamond Head) and Hawaiʻi Island but has not been seen since the early 1850's. The rare and endangered Vigna o-wahuensis, with no known Hawaiian name, is the only endemic species.
Several closely related vigna species are grown for food worldwide. Among them are shōzu or azuki bean (Vigna angularis), urad bean or black gram (V. mungo), rice bean (V. umbellata), mung bean (V. radiata), Chinese long bean (V. unguiculata spp. sesquipedalis) and black-eyed pea (V. unguiculata spp. dekindtiana). 
The generic name Vigna is named in honor of Dominico Vigna (?-1647), doctor, horticulturalist and professor of botany at the University of Pisa, Italy.
The specific epithet is from the Latin marina, sea, in reference to the coastal, salt tolerant habitat of this species.
Early Hawaiian Use
The leaves, stalk, midrib (kua), and stems were pounded until soft and applied to wounds and hēhē (boils, running sore, ulcerous). 
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vigna [accessed 10/10/08]
 "Hawaiian Coastal Plants and Scenic Shorelines" by Mark David Merlin, page 35.
 "Native Hawaiian Medicine--Volume III" by The Rev. Kaluna M. Kaʻaiakamanu, page 80.
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