Chenopodium oahuense

leaf Main Plant Information





Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • Alaweo
  • Alaweo huna (Niʻihau)
  • Kāhaʻihaʻi
  • ʻAhea
  • ʻĀheahea
  • ʻĀhewahewa
  • ʻĀweoweo

Hawaiian Names

  • Ahea
  • Aheahea
  • Ahewahewa
  • Alaweo
  • Alaweo huna (Niʻihau)
  • Aweoweo
  • Kahaihai

Common Names

  • Hawaiian goosefoot


  • Atriplex oahuensis
  • Chenopodium pekeloi
  • Chenopodium sandwicheum

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status


Endangered Species Status

No Status

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Partially Woody / Shrub-like
  • Shrub

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Shrub, Dwarf, Less than 2
  • Shrub, Small, 2 to 6
  • Shrub, Medium, 6 to 10
  • Shrub, Tall, Greater than 10
  • Tree, Small, 15 to 30

Mature Size, Width

ʻĀweoweo should have a height to width ratio of 1:5:1.

Life Span

Long lived (Greater than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Accent
  • Container
  • Ground Cover
  • Hedges

Additional Landscape Use Information

ʻĀweoweo is very tolerant of coralline soils. Leaf sizes vary but small-leaved varieties are best for small hedges. Remove flowers to encourage foliage production.

There is a very prostrate form only a few inches tall which may serve as a unique and interesting groundcover. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Older plants form woody stems and trunks and can be shaped as topiary.

Source of Fragrance

  • Leaves

Additional Fragrance Information

ʻĀweoweo leaves, flowers, and fruit can range from scentless to very distinctly scented, smelling like fish (ʻāweoweo). In the field it can be detected by the smell. [1]

Plant Produces Flowers


leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type

Not Showy

Flower Colors

  • Green
  • Greenish-White

Additional Flower Color Information

The plants have many tiny drab-colored flowers densely clustered at the branch ends on spiked stems above the foliage.

Blooming Period

  • Year Round
  • Sporadic

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Fine
  • Medium

Additional Plant Texture Information

The somewhat fleshy, thick leaves are olive green with tiny hairs that give them a grayish or bluish silver appearance.

Leaf Colors

  • Medium Green

Additional Leaf Color Information

Upper surfaces are often greener than the lower surfaces of the leaves.

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

ʻĀweoweo is prone to ants, aphids and mealy bugs.

leaf Growth Requirements


If planted in the ground, ʻāweoweo requires little or no additional fertilizer to remain healthy. However, foliar feeding with a kelp or fish emulsion monthly at one-half or one-third the recommended strength does seem to give the plant an overall vigor and healthy appearance. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Pruning Information

Pruning is optional. Most people keep the flowers and fruits for a natural appearance. Flowers and spent fruit can, however, be removed to encourage foliage production and maintain a neat appearance as a hedge if desired. Branches which occasionally die back may also be pruned.

Water Requirements

  • Dry

Additional Water Information

Water plants until well established and then only during a prolonged drought.

Soil must be well drained


Light Conditions

  • Full sun
  • Partial sun

Additional Lighting Information

ʻĀweoweo does tolerate some shade but prefers full sun.

Spacing Information

Plants should be spaced 2 to 5 feet apart.


  • Drought
  • Wind
  • Salt Spray
  • Heat


  • Cinder
  • Organic
  • Coral


Plants drop many seeds which can potentially become weedy, but is not invasive.

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Niʻihau
  • Kauaʻi
  • Oʻahu
  • Molokaʻi
  • Lānaʻi
  • Maui
  • Kahoʻolawe
  • Hawaiʻi
  • Northwest Islands

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)
  • 2000 to 2999, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 3000 to 3999, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 4000 to 4999, 0 to 50 (Dry)


  • Terrestrial

Additional Habitat Information

This wide-ranging endemic species is found on all of the main islands, recently found on Kahoʻolawe, and also on Lisianski (Papaʻāpoho), Laysan (Kauō), French Frigate Shoals (Mokupāpapa), Necker (Mokumanamana), and Nīhoa. The latter two islands comprising most or much of the native vegetation respectively. [4]

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

ʻĀweoweo belongs to the Amaranth family (Amaranthaceae). Of the 150 or so species of Chenopodium or Lamb's Quarters known worldwide, the Hawaiian endemic ʻāweoweo is the woodiest in the genus developing a trunk up to a foot in diameter and the only member to attain to the status of a tree, though rarely ever reaching two meters (over 6 feet). [1,3]

Familiar culinary members in the same genus include Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa), a nutrious grain from the Andes; Huauzontle (C. nuttalliae), a Mexican vegetable prepared like spinach or broccoli; White goosefoot or Bathua (C. album), a vegetable of ancient origin and still eaten today in India; and Strawberry blite (C. capitatum), which has bright red edible flowers resembling strawberries but tasting like spinach.

The native Hawaiian family members include five species of Charpentiera, a very rare and little known amaranth (Amaranthus brownii) from Nīhoa, three species of Achyranthes, and three species of kuluʻī (Nototrichium spp.).


The generic name is from the Greek chen, goose, and pous, foot, referring to the goose-like foliage.

The specific epithet oahuense refers the island of Oʻahu.

Hawaiian Names:

Alaweo huna is a Niʻihau name for this plant.

A reputable source spells this as ʻaweoweo. [7] But for modern use, it is spelled with a kahakō over the "a." [8]


Background Information

Native water and land birds (e.g. Nihoa finch), and seabirds use ʻāweoweo for food, nesting material or nesting sites. [3,4,7] This shrub along with ʻilima are the predominant plants on Nīhoa. [7]

Early Hawaiian Use

Early Hawaiians used the wood to form shark hooks (makau mano) fitted with bone points. [2]

The leaves and shoots were wrapped in ti (kī) leaves, cooked in an ʻimu and eaten in times of food scarcity by early Hawaiians. This added greens and roughage to their diet. [2,5,6]

Medicinally, it was used to treat children with ‘ea (thrush) and pā‘ao‘ao (a general term for ailments), sometimes mixed with other ingredients such as niu (coconut), kukui, līpoa (a brown seaweed, Dictyopteris spp.), uluhe (wawae ‘iole kuahiwi, cf. Huperzia spp. or Lycopodium spp.), ‘ala‘ula (wawae ‘iole kahakai, cf. Codium edule, a green seaweed), ‘ilima (Sida fallax), or even marine shells, and then fed to children with poi or possibly ‘uala (sweet potato). [9]

The Hawaiian Ethnobotany Online Database notes: "The kahuna ho‘omanamana called this plant ‘iloe holokula, because it was used everywhere to induce death…[also used] with the ‘ākia lau nui (Wikstroemia) and some bitter plants as firewood in the fireplaces used to send prayers." [9]

Additional References

[1] "Hawaiʻi's Native Plants" by Dr. Bruce Bohm, pages 91-92.
[2] "Plants in Hawaiian Culture" by Beatrice H. Krauss, pages 16, 43.
[3] "Hawaii: A Natural History" by Sherwin Carlquist, page 147.

[4] "Natural History of Nihoa and Necker Islands" by Neal L. Evenhuis, pages 58, 59.

[5] "Arts and Crafts of Hawaii" by Te Rangi Hiroa (Sir Peter H. Buck), page 6.

[6] "Resource Units in Hawaiian Culture" by Donald D. Kilolani Mitchell, page 128.

[7] "The Hawaiian Honeycreeper: Drapandidae" by H. Douglas Pratt, pages 20, 133.

[8] [Accessed on 10/21/11]

[9] "Hawaiian Ethnobotany Online Database" [Accessed 1/25/12]



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