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Vitex rotundifolia
Alternative Botanical Names
Vitex ovata
Vitex trifolia

Common Names
Kolokolo kahakai
Beach Vitex
Hinahina kolo
Potential or Traditional Uses
Lei (Flower or Seed)
Photo of Vitex rotundifolia
Vitex rotundifolia is a sprawling shrub 6 to 8 feet in diameter and 6 inches to 2 feet tall, but reaching 4 feet in height and 12 feet in width when protected from wind and salt spray. The round leaves are gray-green to silvery and 1 to 2 inches long. The foliage has a spicy fragrance. The 1 inch flowers are bluish purple and are produced in small clusters at the ends of the branches throughout the year. (Bornhorst 1996; Criley 1999; Koob 1998; Wagner 1990)
Habitat and Geographic Range
Vitex rotundifolia is indigenous to Hawai'i; it occurs throughout the Pacific and as far west as India. In Hawai'i, Vitex rotundifolia grows along the coast on sandy beaches, dunes, and rocky shorelines. It occurs up to elevations of 50 feet on all the main islands except Kaho'olawe. (Wagner 1990)
Propagation by Seeds
The round fruits of Vitex rotundifolia are about 1/4 inch in diameter and bluish purple to black when ripe.

The seeds are difficult to remove from the fruit, but the entire fruit can be planted. Soak the fruits for 48 hours to soften them before planting. The germination medium should be kept somewhat dry. Germination takes 3 to 6 months. (Koob 1998)

Propagation by Cuttings
Vitex rotundifolia can be grown from cuttings taken when the plants are not in flower or fruit. NTBG recommends tip cuttings 4 inches long with at least 2 nodes and removing the leaves from the cuttings. Criley notes that they should be non-flowering terminals.

Vitex rotundifolia can be rooted without any hormone treatment. However, using a mild rooting hormone (e.g. 0.05% indolebutyric acid (IBA) and 0.025% naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA)) (Koob, email) will increase rooting success. Criley found that treatments with IBA, Hormex Nos. 3, 8, and 16 all improved root quality. Cuttings should be rooted in a well-drained rooting medium such as 3 parts perlite to 1 part vermiculite. Rooting takes 3 to 4 weeks under mist. (Criley 1998; Criley 1999; NTBG 1992; Koob 1998)

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.
Bornhorst, Heidi L. 1990. Low-growing native Hawaiian plants for your garden. The Bulletin of the National Tropical Botanical Garden 20 (4):86-89.

Bornhorst, Heidi L. 1996. Growing native Hawaiian plants: a how-to guide for the gardener. Honolulu: The Bess Press. p. 26-27.

Criley, Richard A. 1998. Propagation of indigenous and endemic ornamental Hawaiian plants. Combined Proceedings of the International Plant Propagators' Society 48:669-674.

Criley, Richard A. 1999. Aloha Hawai'i. American Nurseryman 190 (3):50-61.

Koob, Gregory A. 1998. Pohinahina: a tried-and-true native landscape plant. Hawai'i Horticulture 1 (9):3-5.

Koob, Gregory A. "Rooting Hormone Question." Personal email. Posted 28 January 1999.

Moriarty, Dan. 1975. Native Hawaiian plants for tropical seaside landscaping. The Bulletin of the Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden 5 (3):41-48.

National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG). 1992. Pohinahina. 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. 1326-1327.

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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:
6 April 2001

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