In the Garden
Friday, December 6, 2002

By Rick Barboza



Latin name: Cyperus trachysanthos

Pu'uka'a is a beautiful sedge with long, narrow and somewhat toothed leaf blades. It sends out short rhizomes to form dense tufts. Within these long leaf blades emerges a tall shaft with several bunches of spikelets (cyperus form of flowers) on top. It grows up to 3 feet tall.

Distribution: This federally listed endangered plant is endemic to Hawaii and found on the islands of Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai and Lanai. It is found in wetter areas such as pond margins or seasonal marshes. On Oahu it is found in Diamond Head crater.

Landscape use and care: This plant can be placed in or around water features. It thrives in full sun and damp soil. Pruning of dead leaves keeps this plant looking beautiful. It does fine planted in the ground as long as the soil remains damp, and looks great when placed alongside rock features. This plant is also great for dry floral arrangements.

Rick Barboza co-owns Hui Ku Maoli Ola, a native Hawaiian plant nursery. "In the Garden" runs Fridays.

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