In The Garden
Attractive tree found on several isles
Scientific Name: Antidesma pulvinatumDescription:
These small trees up can grow anywhere from 6 to 25 feet tall.
They have beautiful foliage in terms of color (a glossy maroon when young that turns to a glossy dark green when older), shape (elliptical with clean margins and a sharp apex) and arrangement (alternating tightly along each branch). Flowers develop on panicles, which turn into small, reddish-purple, grapelike fruit. The contrast between the young leaves, mature leaves and fruit make this plant very attractive.
HUI KU MAOLI OLA
Variations between young and mature leaves, plus fruit, add to the hame plant's attractiveness.
This species of Antidesma is uncommon but can be seen in the dry to mesic forests of Oahu, Molokai, Maui and Hawaii. The one pictured here is from the Waianae mountains on Oahu.
Cultural use: The hardwood of hame is used to make anvils -- either for beating kapa or, more commonly, for preparing olona (Touchardia lattifolia) to make cords. The dark reddish-purple berries are also used to make a dye for kapa.
Landscape use and care: This tree would make an excellent addition to any garden. It is attractive and fairly easy to take care of. Daily watering is OK in well-drained soil, but reduce to watering only when needed once the plant is established. This plant also thrives in full sun to somewhat filtered sunlight. Young trees are more susceptible to damage from either mealy bugs or aphids, but these problems can be easily remedied by pruning off affected leaves.
Other info: This is one of two species of Antidesma native to Hawaii. Both are called hame, but other names include ha'a, ha'amaile, hamehame, mehame and mehamehame (not to be confused with another plant called mehamehame, Fluggea neowawraea, which is an endangered species and known for its extremely dense hardwood but occurs in the same family, Euphorbiacea, as hame).
"In the Garden" runs Fridays. Rick Barboza co-owns Hui Ku Maoli Ola, a native Hawaiian plant nursery. Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
co-owns Hui Ku Maoli Ola, a native Hawaiian plant nursery, with Matt Schirman. Contact him at 259-6580 or e-mail email@example.com