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Native Plants at Leeward Community College Campus

Selected Plants for Landscaping based on Our Experience

Priscilla S. Millen, Professor of Botany, Leeward Community College and
Frani Okamoto, Horticulturalist
(from an advanced training event, O'ahu MGs, August 2011)

Environmental and Floristic Conditions at LCC

Leeward Community College experiences intense sun and heat during the summer. This region once supported dry land shrub and woodland flora, which are now mostly absent and altered on the islands. This dryland shrub and woodland had a great variety of plants, many of which became dormant during the hot season. There were many fragrant flowering plants, with interesting leaf and texture elements. It’s difficult to image today the experience of this rich flora because it is now covered the a few invasive such as koa haole and California grass.

State of Natives Today

Hawaiian endemic plants are some of the most endangered flora in the world, with about 50% at risk. Many non-native plants are commonly thought to be natives but are actually Polynesian introductions such as kalo, ti, noni, ‘awa or recent introductions such as plumeria, gingers and non-native hibiscus.

Horticultural Practices at LCC

  • Drip or spray irrigation is needed to keep plants attractive and producing seed throughout the year.
  • Frequently of irrigation: 1-2 times per week, deep watering, well drained soil at the back of the campus requires more attention to watering
  • Ground covers and mulches greatly enhance native plant growth.
  • Little to no fertilizer is used as they tend to produce lush vegetative growth which attracts insects and disease organisms.
  • Little to no chemical treatments are used for disease and insect control. We primarily use horticultural soaps and oils to control them.
  • New plants diseases and insect pests pose a challenge for us, however in general if good plant conditions are maintained, healthy plants eventually come back with some resistance.
  • One notable pest is the Chinese Rose Beetle. One effective control is to plant under night lights.
  • Natives tend to transplant with some difficulty. Younger plants to better than older ones. Sometimes they “sit” for a year before developing new growth.
  • Propagation is well determined for many native plants, but they are slow growing compared to the more popular non-native plants.
  • Homeowners, landscapers and nurseries must know and recognize the different environmental conditions that native plants require. For example, plants from mountain areas usually do not do well is dry areas.

Uses of Native Plants in Landscaping

Native plants tend to grow slowly but if they are situated in an attractive way, allowing for future growth, they may result in lower maintenance costs. They can be effectively combined with non-native plants with similar cultural conditions and requirements. Not all native plants are conducive to cultivation or use in landscaping.

Our Plants

Native Ferns

Microlepia strigosa

‘Okupukupu, (sword fern)
Nephrolepis exaltata

Native Ground Covers

Pa’u o hi’iaka (skirt of Hi’iaka)
Jacquemontia ovalifolia subsp. Sandwicensis

Sesuvium portulacastrum

Ipomoea imperati

Streamside and Pond Plants

‘Ihi ihi laukea
Marsilea villosa

Cyperus javanicus

Ae’ae (water hyssop, bacopa)
Bacopa monnieri

Grasses, Grass-like plants, and Sedges

Pili Grass
Heteropogon contortus

Uki uki
Dianella sandwicensis

Carex wahuensis

Hina hina
Artemisia mauiensis

Pua kala
Argemone glauca


Sida fallax

Nanu, nau (native gardenia)
Gardenia brighamia

Hala pepe
Pleomele spp.

O’ahu hala pepe
Pleomele forbesiiforbesii

Colobrina oppositifolia

Naupaka kuahiwi
Scaevola gaudichaudii

Koki’o ke’o ke’o (white hibiscus)
Hibiscus arnottianus ssp immaculatus
Hibiscus arnottianus, ssp waimae

Hibiscus kokio
Hibiscus kokio subsp. Kokio

Hibiscus kokio ‘ula ‘ula
Hibiscus kokio

Koki’o ula (Clay’s hibiscus)
Hibiscus clayi

Naio (false sandalwood)
Myoporum sandwicense

Naio papa (false sandalwood, low growing form)
Myoporum sandwicense variety papa (or Winona’s naio)

Sesbania tomentosa

Xylosoma hawaiiense

Dodonaea viscosa

Pittosporum species

Pittosporum glabrum

Pittosporum hosmeri

Psyrax odorata

‘Akia (fish poison plant)
Wikstroemia uva-ursi

Aulula (cabbage-on-a-stick)
Brighamia insignis

Chamaesyce celestriodes

Pohinahina (beach vitex)
Vitex rotundifolia

Osteomeles anthillidifolia

Nototrichium sandwichense

‘Aweo’weo, ‘Aheahea
Chenopodium oahuense

Psilotum nudum

'Industrial Strength' Plants for Tough Places

Colubrina asiatica

Plumbago zeylanica

Native Trees

Pritchardia Spp.
Pritchardia martii

Diospyros sandwicensis

Lonomea, Aulu
Sapindus oahuensis

Acacia koaia

Acacia koa

Pandanus tectorius

Polyscias racemosa (formerly Munroidendron racemosum)

Metrosideros polymorpha
Metrosideros macropus
Metrosideros tremuloides

Koki’o (tree hibiscus)
Kokia drynariodes