Lovely sedge best viewed from distance
Description: Striking greenish-blue sedges with linear leaf blades that can reach lengths of up to 3 feet. The flowers form as spikelets on an umbrellalike cluster that protrudes from the center of the plant on a tall, triangular stalk. The term "blade," used to describe the leaves of 'ahu'awa, could not be a better word, as the leaf margins have tiny teeth that make the edges very sharp. It is well worth being cautious around the plant in order to enjoy what it can bring to your landscape. Its overall beauty is easily viewed from a distance.
HUI KU MAOLI OLA
'Ahu'awa is available at Home Depot for about $6.
This is an indigenous plant native to Hawaii as well as tropical Africa and Asia. It is found on all the major islands except Kahoolawe, as well as on Midway Atoll. 'Ahu'awa is fairly common (compared with other native wetland plants) in marshes, lo'i (kalo patches), along streams and ditches, coastal pastures, rocky coastal sites and cliffs.
Landscape uses: This plant thrives in full sun but can survive in either dry or wet soil, making it an excellent plant for either the xeriscape garden or the pond. The greenish-blue leaves also add great contrast against darker backdrops or ground covers or to accentuate rock features. We've also used this plant in restoration projects because it has a fibrous root system that binds the soil, reducing erosion. In addition, it acts as a filter, removing excess nutrients from the water. In the wild, 'alae'ula (an endangered native wetland bird) uses the 'ahu'awa plant as a nest, and hatchlings duck under it to escape predators.
Tasty tidbit: Hawaiians use the pounded stems of this plant to strain pulp while making the drink 'awa. There also is documentation of the flowers and leaves of 'ahu'awa being used in leis. Ouch!
co-owns Hui Ku Maoli Ola, a native Hawaiian plant nursery. Contact him at 259-6580 or e-mail 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