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Tetraplasandra hawaiensis
Alternative Botanical Names
None found
Common Names
Potential or Traditional Uses
Photo of Tetraplasandra hawaiensis
Tetraplasandra hawaiensis is a medium sized tree growing from 20 to possibly 60 feet tall. The compound leaves are 8 to 18 inches long and contain 5 to 9 leaflets. The leaflets are narrowly oval, range in size from 4 to 6 inches long and 1 to 2 1/2 inches wide, and the lower surface is generally covered with hairs giving it a powdery appearance. The small, yellow green flowers form in flattened clusters near the ends of the branches. (Wagner 1990)
Habitat and Geographic Range
Tetraplasandra hawaiensis is endemic to the main Hawaiian islands of Moloka'i, Lana'i, Maui, and Hawai'i. It grows in moist to wet forests at elevations of 500 to 2,600 feet. (Wagner 1990)
Propagation by Seeds
The fruit of Tetraplasandra hawaiensis is round, up to 1/2 inch in diameter, and covered with whitish woolly hairs. The fruit is ribbed when mature and dry, and the seeds are papery and flat.

Obata characterized the germination rate of this species as "poor." Wooliams provides some germination information on two related species. Untreated seeds of T. micrantha (now T. kavaiensis) collected and planted in November began sprouting 3 months after sowing; 2 out of 9 seeds ultimately germinated. Fresh, untreated seed of T. meiandra (now T. oahuensis) collected and planted in April began germinating in 2 months, but only 4 seedlings were obtained from 44 seeds. (Obata 1973; Wagner 1990; Wooliams 1972)

Propagation by Cuttings
Weissich states that cuttings are difficult to root. (Weissich 1995)
Propagation by Division
Not applicable.
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.
Obata, John K. 1973. Propagating native Hawaiian plants (continued from February 1973). Newsletter of the Hawaiian Botanical Society 12 (2):9-11.

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. 234-235.

Weissich, Paul R. 1995. Hawaiian native plants in the landscape. Combined Proceedings International Plant Propagators' Society 44:332-335.

Wooliams, Keith. 1972. From the nursery. The Bulletin of the Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden 2 (2):40.

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

Last updated:
11 August 2001

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