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Achyranthes splendens var. rotundata

leaf Main Plant Information

Genus

Achyranthes

Species

splendens

Varieties

  • rotundata

Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • ʻAhinahina

Hawaiian Names

  • Ahinahina

Common Names

  • Achyranthes
  • Chaff flower
  • Round Chaff flower
  • Round-leaf chaff flower
  • Round-leaved chaff flower

Synonyms

  • Achyranthes maneleensis
  • Achyranthes reflexa
  • Achyranthes rotundata
  • Achyranthes splendens var. reflexa

Names with Unknown Sources

  • Hinahina ʻewa
  • ʻEwa hinahina

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status

Endemic

Endangered Species Status

Federally Listed

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Shrub

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Shrub, Small, 2 to 6
  • Shrub, Medium, 6 to 10

Mature Size, Width

Minimum height to width ratio 1.5:1

Life Span

Long lived (Greater than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Accent
  • Hedges
  • Screening
  • Specimen Plant

Additional Landscape Use Information

An easy-to-grow landscape plant that quickly reaches the flowering and fruiting stage. Will regenerate from fallen seed.

Source of Fragrance

  • No Fragrance

Plant Produces Flowers

Yes

leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type

Not Showy

Flower Colors

  • Greenish-White

Additional Flower Color Information

The tiny greenish flowers are rather insignificant compared with other features of this plant.

Blooming Period

  • Year Round

Additional Blooming Period and Fruiting Information

While the tiny flowers themselves are not showy, the seed spikes are one of the characteristic features of this plant.

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Fine
  • Medium

Additional Plant Texture Information

Silvery dense tomentose (hairs) covering leaves on upper and lower surfaces. Leaves are smaller and rounder than var. splendens.

Leaf Colors

  • Gray / Silverish
  • Light Green

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

Mealybugs can concentrate around leaf basis and seed spikes sometimes deforming them.

leaf Growth Requirements

Fertilizer

An application of a slow release fertilizer with micro-nutrients (e.g. Nutricote 13-13-13) every six months and a foliar application of a water soluble fertilizer (e.g. Miracle-Gro) or fish or kelp emulsion monthly has proved to be beneficial.

Pruning Information

Do not prune too heavily. Light to medium pruning to a desired shape or to remove spent seed stalks to maintain a clean look in the landscape.

Water Requirements

  • Dry

Additional Water Information

Benefits from regular deep watering. However, keep on the drier side and water in very dry periods. Too much water can tend to wash out the beautiful silvery foliage to a greener color in some plants.

Soil must be well drained

Yes

Light Conditions

  • Full sun
  • Partial sun

Additional Lighting Information

Tolerates some partial shade but performs best under full sun conditions.

Spacing Information

Depending on how plants will be used for in the landscaping, for specimen plants, space 4 to 6 feet apart; for a hedge 3 to 4 feet apart.

Tolerances

  • Drought
  • Wind
  • Salt Spray
  • Heat

Soils

  • Clay
  • Cinder
  • Coral

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Oʻahu
  • Molokaʻi
  • Lānaʻi

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • Less than 150, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 150 to 1000, 0 to 50 (Dry)

Additional Habitat Information

On Oʻahu, this endangered plant is found in scattered populations on the ʻEwa Plains and at Kaʻena Point. [1]

Probably naturally extinct on Molokaʻi and Lanaʻi.

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

This is an endangered species belonging to the Amaranth family (Amaranthaceae).

Other native Hawaiian family members include two other species in the same genus with one very likely extinct; a rare and little known amaranth (Amaranthus brownii) from Nīhoa (Moku Manu), ʻāweoweo (Chenopodium oahuense), and several species of pāpala (Charpentiera spp.) and kuluʻī (Nototrichium spp.).

The variety differences in Achyranthes splendens is based on flower and leaf variation.

Etymology

Genus is derived from the Greek achyron, chaff, and anthos, flower, referring to the chaffy parts of the flower.

The Latin ephithet splendens means shining, brilliant, gleaming, referring to the brightness of the leaves.

The varietal name Latin, rotundata, almost round, refers to the rounded shape of the leaves.

Hawaiian Names:

Though there appears to be no known authentic Hawaiian name or use for this plant, the following are used today:

ʻAhinahina means silver, gray or gray- or white-haired, referring to the color of the leaves of this plant.

The name ʻEwa hinahina or Hinahina ʻewa has an unknown modern origin.

Early Hawaiian Use

 None known.

Additional References

[1] "Hawaiʻi's Vanishing Flora" by Bert Y. Kimura & Kenneth M. Nagata, page 17.

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