Achyranthes splendens var. splendens
Hawaiian Names with Diacritics
- Chaff flower
- Maui chaff flower
- Achyranthes lanaiensis
Endangered Species Status
Plant Form / Growth Habit
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 This beautiful shrub has a spread up to 5 feet. [Native Nursery, LLC]
Long lived (Greater than 5 years)
Additional Landscape Use Information
An easy-to-grow landscape plant that quickly reaches the flowering and fruiting stage. Will regenerate from fallen seed.
Plant Produces Flowers
Additional Flower Color Information
The tiny greenish flowers are rather insignificant compared with other features of this plant.
- 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.
Additional Plant Texture Information
Silvery dense tomentose (hairs) covering leaves on upper and lower surfaces. Leaves are smaller and rounder on var. rotundata. Leaves range between 1 to 5 inches long.
- Gray / Silverish
- Light Green
Additional Pest & Disease Information
Mealybugs can concentrate around leaf basis and seed spikes sometimes deforming them.
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.
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.
Additional Water Information
Keep on the drier side and water in very dry periods. Too much water can tend to wash out the beautiful silvery foliage to more of a green color in some plants.
Soil must be well drained
- Full sun
Depending on what 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.
Slightly salt tolerant. [Anna Palomino, Hoʻolawa Farms]
Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)
- Less than 150, 0 to 50 (Dry)
- 150 to 1000, 0 to 50 (Dry)
- 1000 to 1999, 0 to 50 (Dry)
Additional Habitat Information
Mostly found in low elevation habitats (open, dry forests to rocky slopes) except on Maui where they can be found at over 1600 ft.
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.
Genus is derived from the Greek achyron, chaff, and anthos, flower, referring to the chaffy parts of the flower.
The Latin species and varietal name splendens means shining, brilliant, gleaming, referring to the brightness of the leaves.
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
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