Hawaiian:     Nānū, Nā‘ū

English:        Gardenia

Latin:            Gardenia brighamii

FAMILY:  Rubiaceae

STATUS:    Endemic, Endangered, Moderately hard to propagate


Small trees up to 5 meters tall. The plant grows from 350-520 meter elevation.

Flower: This plant has between 5 and 6 petals, is white and fragrant.  It has seeds that are green in color and go to dark brown when done.

Leaves: Similar to those of a common garden variety gardenia.

This plant grows on most of the Islands.


The pulp of the fruit or seed was used in preparing the yellow dye for kapa.  Also the fruit was used for sticky glue in gluing certain wood objects.

No known Hawaiian medicinal use.