Hawaiian:     Hō‘awa, hā‘awa

English:        Kona hō‘awa

Latin:            Pittosporum hawaiiense

FAMILY:      Pittosporaceae

STATUS:    Endemic


Small sized tree, 3-4 meters tall.  Grows from 520-1800 meters in elevation.

Flowers: Unisex, 4-12cm long petals cream in color and have a slight fragrance.

Leaves: Long, ovate, 28cm long, 10cm wide, light to medium green in color.

All of the native Hō‘awa are endemic.  The one pictured is Pittosporum hawaiiense hō‘awa.


On canoes all gunwales were always of light colored wood.  Although ‘Ahakea was the most preferred they would use Hō‘awa, ‘Aiea, Holei, Kukui and ‘Āla‘a.

As the legend goes… Laka was going through the forest in Kohala, he came upon the seeds of the Hō‘awa which when they are open have a bright orange casing with black seeds in it.  Taken aback about how beautiful they are when opened he gathers some seeds.  As Laka makes his way through the mountains, from Kohala to Ka‘ū, the ‘Alalā (native crow) spies what Laka is doing.  The crow delights in the taste and the generosity of Laka and proclaims that the Hō‘awa seeds are his favorite.  This tree is the favorite tree of the ‘Alalā.