’Ilie‘e is a fine ground cover flower plant
Description: A low sprawling shrub with long stems, light green foliage and clusters of bluish white flowers that emerge at the stem tips. Once the flowers are pollinated, small, cigar shaped fruits that are slightly sticky will begin to develop.
HUI KU MAOLI OLA
'Ilie'e blossoms are bluish white.
This plant is indigenous, meaning that it is native to Hawaii as well as other parts of the world. In Hawaii, it is found on all the main islands in the lowland dry forest all the way down to the coast in either the full hot sun or as the understory in disturbed areas dominated by alien plants like koa haole and or kiawe
Landscape use and care: 'Ilie'e is the perfect ground cover plant. As in the wild, it is often found thriving in full sun and in the shade -- in the landscape it does the same and looks great planted under other trees or under house eaves in partial shade as well as in the full sun, although exposure to sunlight results in more flowers.
It requires little watering to become established; every other day is fine initially, but once the plant is established, it barely needs water.
'Ilie'e also seems resistant to most pests and diseases; I have seen spider and flat mites on them on rare occasions.
This plant is currently available at Hui Ku Maoli Ola native plant nursery and Home Depot on Oahu for about $4. It costs a little more on neighbor islands.
Cultural uses: The sap of 'Ilie'e is used by Hawaiians to blacken tattoos.
Also: In other places of the world where this plant is also native, the seeds were probably dispersed by sticking to large grazing land mammals. Because the Hawaiian islands evolved without these large land mammals, large birds, like geese, likely played this role.
co-owns Hui Ku Maoli Ola, a native Hawaiian plant nursery, with Matt Schirman. Contact him at 259-6580 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org