College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources logo

Hawaiian Native Plant Propagation Database

database logo

Achyranthes splendens
Alternative Botanical Names
Achyranthes lanaiensis
Achyranthes maneleensis
Achyranthes rotundata

Common Names
Ewa Hinahina
Potential or Traditional Uses
Photo of Achyranthes splendens flower spike and leaves
Achyranthes splendens is a small shrub ranging in height from 2 to 6 feet tall. The oval leaves are 3/4 to 4 1/2 inches long and 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches wide. Pairs of leaves are arranged opposite each other on the stems. They are covered with white hairs, especially on the lower surface. These hairs give the leaves a silver or gray appearance.

The tiny, inconspicuous flowers are closely spaced on spikes that can be anywhere from 1 1/4 to 10 inches long. The flower spikes form at the ends of the branches. (Anonymous 1986; Wagner 1990)

Habitat and Geographic Range
Achyranthes splendens is an endemic shrub. It grows at low elevations, generally from sea level to 100 feet, in open dry areas on rocky soil or coralline plains. It is currently known to grow along the western coast of O'ahu, on the Kalaupapa peninsula on Maui, near Manele and Maunalei Gulch on Lana'i, in West Maui, and near Kula on East Maui. There are 2 varieties recognized in Wagner (1990); one of them, A. splendens var. rotundata, is a federally listed endangered species. A. splendens var. rotundata, grows on O'ahu, Moloka'i, and Lana'i. (Wagner 1990)
Propagation by Seeds
Each tiny dry fruit contains 1 seed. Air dry the fruit at room temperature in a bowl or paper bag. Carefully rub the fruits through a strainer with the appropriate size mesh. The seeds should fall through leaving the debris in the strainer.

NTBG (Lilleeng-Rosenberger 1996) had success using a medium consisting of 3 parts perlite to 1 part Sunshine Mix #4. Seeds in this batch began germinating in 5 days.

NTBG (Ragone 1993) found high percentages of non-viable seeds in some batches; the embryos in these seeds had aborted or were missing. With viable seeds, NTBG (Lilleeng-Rosenberger 1996) reports 90% germination rate with fresh untreated seed. Obata found that untreated seeds of Achyranthes splendens had a germination rate ranging from 30 to 75%. (Lilleeng-Rosenberger 1996; Lilleng-Rosenberger 1998; Obata 1967; Ragone 1993; Wagner 1990)

Propagation by Cuttings
Mew advises that Achyranthes splendens grows easily from cuttings using a rooting hormone and automatic mist system. Waimea Arboretum recommends selecting cutting material from short side branches and rooring the cuttings in a well drained medium such as sand. (Anonymous 1986; Mew 1987)
Propagation by Division
No information located to date.
Propagation by Air Layers
No information located to date.
Propagation by Grafting
No information located to date.
Propagation by Tissue Culture
No information located to date.
Lilleeng-Rosenberger, Kerin. 1996. Plant propagation notebook. Unpublished materials: National Tropical Botanical Garden.

Lilleeng-Rosenberger, Kerin. 1998. Propagation techniques for native Hawaiian plants. Newsletter of the Hawaiian Botanical Society 37 (2):33-35.

Mew, Randal K. T. 1987. Cultivation and propagation of selected coastal plants at the Waikiki Aquarium. Newsletter of the Hawaiian Botanical Society 26 (2):27-32.

Obata, John K. 1967. Seed germination in native Hawaiian plants. Newsletter of the Hawaiian Botanical Society 6 (3):13-20.

Ragone, Diane, (Program Coordinator). 1993. Hawaii Plant Conservation Center - Collection & Propagation Project: Final Report (USFWS Grant 14-48-0001-92581). Lawai, Hawaii: National Tropical Botanical Garden.

Wagner, Warren L., Darrel R. Herbst, and S. H. Sohmer. 1990. Manual of the flowering plants of Hawai'i. 2 vols, Bishop Museum Special Publication 83. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press and Bishop Museum Press.

Search Database

Browse Database --
By Botanical Name
By Common Name

Other Native Hawaiian Plant Sites

Other Plant Propagation Sites

Database Bibliography

Database Home Page

Other CTAHR Databases

The image in this record is used with permission from Dr. Gerald Carr's Web site "Hawaiian Native Plants" at

Last updated:
19 August 2001

Please send comments and suggestions to