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Peperomia leptostachya
Alternative Botanical Names
Peperomia candollei
Peperomia insularum

Common Names
'Ala'ala wai nui
Potential or Traditional Uses
Photo not available
Peperomia leptostachya is a small, succulent, herbaceous plant. The upright unbranched stems are green or reddish green and are 6 to 8 inches long and about 1/4 inch in diameter at the base. The fleshy leaves are green and lighter colored underneath. The internodes spaced 1/2 to 1 inches apart. The leaves are oval, 1/2 to 2 inches long, and half as wide. The tiny flowers are arranged in numerous tall, slender spikes 1 1/2 to 5 1/2 inches long that grow mostly on the ends of the stems. (Wagner 1990)
Habitat and Geographic Range
There are more than 20 species of Peperomia in Hawaii. Peperomia leptostachya is a Hawaiian indigenous plant and is also found from Micronesia and Queensland through Melanesia and Polynesia. In Hawai'i, Peperomia leptostachya grows on rocks, ledges, cliffs, and 'a'a lava in dry to moist forests at elevations of 30 to 2,000 feet. It has been found on all the main islands except Kaho'olawe. (Wagner 1990)
Propagation by Seeds
Fresh seeds of Peperomia leptostachya have a high germination rate (80%). They are no longer viable after being stored for 3 months. Complete loss of viability occurs even when seeds are stored at a temperature of 39 degrees F and a humidity of 10%. (Yoshinaga 1997; Yoshinaga 1998)
Propagation by Cuttings
Peperomia leptostachya grows easily from either stem or tip cuttings. The cuttings should be 3 to 4 inches long. The lower leaves and flower spikes should be removed. Trim the upper leaves in half. Plant the cuttings 1/2 inch deep a mix of either 1 part perlite to 1 part peat moss, or a mix of 3 parts cinder to 1 part vermiculite or potting soil. Rooting hormones are not required. Place them in a cool, shady location and keep them moist; it may be necessary to water as often as twice a day. (Bornhorst 1996; NTBG 1992)
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.
Bornhorst, Heidi L. 1996. Growing native Hawaiian plants: a how-to guide for the gardener. Honolulu: The Bess Press. p. 32-33.

National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG). 1992. 'Ala 'Ala Wai Nui [Peperomia leptostachya]. In Native Hawaiian plant information sheets. Lawai, Kauai: Hawaii Plant Conservation Center. National Tropical Botanical Garden. Unpublished internal papers.

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. p. 1029.

Yoshinaga, Alvin. 1998. Storing seeds of some natiave rain forest plants: some simple methods. Newsletter of the Hawaiian Botanical Society 37 (2):28-32.

Yoshinaga, Alvin Y., Marie Lau, and Rosa Lum. 1997. Storing seeds of native Hawaiian rainforest plants. Newsletter of the Hawaiian Botanical Society 36 (3/4):66-68.

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Last updated:
11 March 2000

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