Clermontia kakeana

leaf Main Plant Information





Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • Hāhā
  • ʻŌhā
  • ʻŌhā wai

Hawaiian Names

  • Haha
  • Oha
  • Oha wai

Common Names

  • Forest clermontia


  • Clermonia mauiensis
  • Clermontia glabra
  • Clermontia grandiflora
  • Clermontia macrocarpa
  • Clermontia macrophylla
  • Clermontia montis-loa

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status


Endangered Species Status

No Status

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Shrub

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Shrub, Small, 2 to 6
  • Shrub, Medium, 6 to 10
  • Shrub, Tall, Greater than 10

Mature Size, Width

10+ feet

Life Span

Long lived (Greater than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Specimen Plant

Plant Produces Flowers


leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type


Flower Colors

  • Cream
  • Greenish-White
  • Purple
  • White

Additional Flower Color Information

The showy flowers are greenish white with dark purple interiors (anthers). The large berries are orange. [1]

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Coarse

Leaf Colors

  • Medium Green

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

Slugs and snails, particularly African snails, will destroy a plant in one night.

Red spider mites can infest the undersides of leaves, so keep a constant vigilance for these destructive pests.

leaf Growth Requirements

Water Requirements

  • Moist

Soil must be well drained


Light Conditions

  • Partial sun


  • Organic


ʻŌhā do not appear to be difficult to grow and maintain under cultivation as long as pests can be controlled especially when planted in the ground.

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Oʻahu
  • Molokaʻi
  • Maui

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • 150 to 1000, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 150 to 1000, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 1000 to 1999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 1000 to 1999, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 2000 to 2999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 2000 to 2999, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 3000 to 3999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 3000 to 3999, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 4000 to 4999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 4000 to 4999, Greater than 100 (Wet)


  • Epiphyte
  • Terrestrial

Additional Habitat Information

These shrubs occur in mesic forests, occasionally on margins of wet forests on Oʻahu in the Waiʻanae Mountains (from about 1200 to nearly 3480 ft.) and in the Koʻolau Mountains (about 800 to 2000 ft.), East Molokaʻi (about 1850 to over 3600 ft.), West Maui (2000 to 3510 ft.), and windward East Maui (about 390 to nearly 4170 ft.) [1]

Occasionally seen growing as an ephiphyte (e.g. Mānoa Cliffs Trail, Oʻahu).

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

 The twenty-four Clermontia species (ʻōhā wai) are among the more common of the lobelioides (Campanulaceae), but also include some rare and endangered species.


The generic name Clermontia is named for M. le Marquis de Clermont-Tonnerre, Minister of the French Navy at the time of the Freycinet expedition (1817-1820).

The specific epthet kakeana is from Puʻu Kākea, a peak in the eastern Koʻolau Mts. [1] and first "discovered" by Western man in 1831 by Franz J.F. Meyen (1804-1840), a naturalist professor in Belin. [2]

Background Information

Clermontia are "candelabra-like" branching, woody shrubs or small trees. While nearly all the species are found as terrestrials, over half of the species also grow as epiphytes, that is they grow on other plants, with one species always found as such. As epiphytes, they are often found on mossy-trunks or branches of larger trees such as koa, ʻōhiʻa, and ʻōlapa (Cheirodendron trigynum). [1] These plants produce two or more flowers on a typical inflorescence and pollinated by honeycreepers (e.g. ʻiʻiwi, ʻakialoa) seeking nectar. [3] Yellow or orange berries are produced after flowering.

Early Hawaiian Use

Early Hawaiians used ʻōhā wai (Clermontia spp.) as a minor food source. The leaves were boiled before eating and the berries were eaten fresh and said to have a sweet taste. [4]

Modern Use

With their general ease of cultivation, several species of Clermontia are slowly being incorporated into residential landscaping. A few are offered through native plant nurseries.

Additional References

[1] "Systematic Botany Monographs, Volume 32, Systematics of Clermontia (Campanulaceae-Lobelioideae)" by Thomas G. Lammers, pages 5, 6, 10-11, 24-30, 39, 44.

[2] Microscopy: the Achievements of the 19th Century and their 17th Century Roots [Accessed 8/27/10]

[3] "The Hawaiian Honeycreeper (Drapanididae)" by H. Douglas Pratt, pages 18, 144.

[4] "Native Hawaiian Medicine--Volume III" by The Rev. Kaluna M. Kaʻaiakamanu, page 78.



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