Hawaiian:     Huahekili uka, naupaka kuahiwi, pāpa ‘ahekili


Latin:            Scaevola kilaueae

FAMILY:      Goodeniaceae

STATUS:       Endemic, Endangered Fairly difficult to propagate


The shrub reaches one meter tall and then spreads out. This low lying shrub grows from 1,000 to 1,660 meters in elevation.

Flowers: 3-7 in cymes, 30-100 mm long, terminal flower sessile, lateral ones on pedicels, 5mm long.   Flower appears as ½ flower, not full, cream lobes with purple lines, seed purplish black.

Leaves: Ovate with serrated edges; 3-6.8 cm long, 1-1.5 cm wide.

Grows in open metrosideros forest and shrubland.   Found mostly in the vicinity of Kīlauea, Hawai‘i and Ocean View in the district of Ka‘u.  There are many varieties of Naupaka.


The berries were used for dye for kapa and kākau (tattoo).  It was dark blue in color.  There is no known use for Hawaiian medicine.

There are many chants and stories about Naupaka.  The legend says that a beautiful woman fell in love with a young village man but he did not return her love and returned to his village sweetheart.  The beautiful woman followed and soon expressed her anger by tearing the man away from his lover’s embrace. Only then did the two realize that the beautiful woman was actually Pele, the goddess of fire. Pele pursued the man into the mountains, hurling rocks at him.  The gods took pity on the man and transformed him into the half flower of the mountain Naupaka.  Pele was furious and in a river of lava returned to the coastline where she overtook the man’s lover.  Before she could do any harm to the woman, the Gods turned the young woman into the beach Naupaka flower.