Haplostachys haplostachya

leaf Main Plant Information





Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • Honohono

Hawaiian Names

  • Honohono


  • Haplostachys grayana
  • Haplostachys grayana var. angustifolia
  • Haplostachys grayana var. leptostachya
  • Haplostachys haplostachya var. angustifolia
  • Haplostachys haplostachya var. leptostachya
  • Phyllostegia haplostachya
  • Phyllostegia haplostachya var. leptostachya
  • Phyllostegia leptostachys

Did You Know…?

Honohono is one of over 60 species of Hawaiian scentless mints found nowhere else on the planet.

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status


Endangered Species Status

Federally Listed

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Non-Woody, Spreading

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Herbaceous, Medium, 1-3
  • Herbaceous, Tall, Greater than 3

Life Span

No data available.

Landscape Uses

  • Accent
  • Container
  • Specimen Plant

Source of Fragrance

  • Flowers

Additional Fragrance Information

While the leaves have no scent, the flowers certainly do. Some who have smelled the pua (flowers) have said they have a pleasant scent, while 'others do not really care for the smell.' The fragrance has been described as mild and ranging from "orchid-like," plumeria, pikake,* and "pikake with a hint of tobacco or Queen Anne's lace" to "a mild body odor" and "bad breath." [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]


* Jasmine (Jasminum sambac)

Plant Produces Flowers


leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type


Flower Colors

  • White

Blooming Period

  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July

Additional Blooming Period and Fruiting Information

The blooming period can extend beyond the the months from February-July. This is especially so if plants are grown from seed, in which flowers may appear anywhere from 3 to 6 months or more.

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Medium

Leaf Colors

  • Light Green
  • Medium Green

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

Ants need to be controlled as they bring in pests.

leaf Growth Requirements


Foliar feed plants monthly or apply small amounts of 8-8-8 fertilizer every six months.

Pruning Information

To prolong life of the plant for a few additional years Kerin E. Lilleeng-Rosenberger suggests "do not allow the plant to bloom and make seeds." She continues, "To accomplish this, for the first couple of years, cut off any flower stalks that grow, and this will strengthen the plant."

Cut flowers can be used in arrangements. See "Modern Use" under "Special Features and Information" section below.

Water Requirements

  • Dry
  • Moist

Additional Water Information

When planting out honohono, monitor the plants for sufficient moisture until established. Water them during dry times of the year.

Potted plants often require more watering.

Soil must be well drained


Light Conditions

  • Full sun
  • Partial sun

Spacing Information

Honohono can quickly fill in growing locations. Generally, this is done by the mother plant sending out running shoots that easily root when they come in contact with the ground that has sufficient moisture.


  • Drought
  • Heat


  • Sand
  • Cinder
  • Organic

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Kauaʻi
  • Maui
  • Hawaiʻi

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

Honohono was once found in dry locations from sea level to over 7000 feet.

Now extinct on Kauaʻi (on barren ridges); sandy isthmus and Kula, Maui; and from about 3250 to  over 7000 feet at Nohonaohae Cinder Cone, Puʻukapele, and Waikiʻi, Hawaiʻi Island.

Presently known only from Kīpukakālawamauna, at 5200 feet, on Hawaiʻi Island.

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

Haplostachys is an endemic Hawaiian genus belonging the Mint family (Lamiaceae). There were four other known species of Haplostachys: H. bryanii from central-southwest Molokaʻi; H. linearifolia, Molokaʻi and Maui; H. munroi, west Lānaʻi; and H. truncata, Maui. Sadly, these are all now thought to be extinct.

Too, there are over 60 species native to the Hawaiian Islands in the endemic genus Phyllostegia and the indigenous genus Stenogyne.*

Additionally, there are three indigenous species: Pakaha or Pitcher sage (Lepechinia hastata), ʻAlaʻala wai nui wahine (Plectranthus parviflorus), and Pōhinahina or Beach vitex (Vitex rotundifolia).


Phyllostegia tahitiensis from Tahiti. This is the only known species outside of the Hawaiian Archipelago.


The generic name and specific epithets are drived from the Greek haplo, single, and stachys and stachya, spike, in reference to the single flower at each axis of the verticillaster in these plants.

Hawaiian Name:

Honohono is also a name given to naturalized or introduced plants, such as the Wandering Jew or Dayflower (Commelina diffusa), and Basketgrass (Oplismenus hirtellus).

Hawaiian Dictionaries comments on the name Honohono, or Hohono, as an "acrid odor, unpleasant body odor of perspiration; to smell thus." It is uncertain as to whether there is a connection to the scent of the flowers of Haplostachys with an "unpleasant body odor." But it is interesting to note that some, after smelling the flowers, have likened it to a mild body odor or bad breath. [1]

Background Information

"Manual of Flowering Plants of Hawaiʻi" notes on page 798: "The species of this genus [Haplostachys] apparently were rare even at the time of Cook's discovery of the islands. They have been rarely collected and their full ranges are probably poorly understood. Nothing is known of pollination and breeding biology in the genus."

Honohono is very rare and a federally listed as an endangered species.

Early Hawaiian Use

It is quite likely that the early Hawaiians would have known about honohono and perhaps had uses for them as well.

Modern Use

Flowers can be used in cut flower arrangements that last for several days. Buds will continue to opening up to flowers. Change water in holding container daily. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Additional References

[1] Hawaiian Dictionaries online http://wehewehe.org [Accessed on 11/6/13]




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This record is as complete as we can generate for this plant profile at this point. Please email nativeplantshawaii@gmail.com if you wish to contribute to the data. Please include sources and references for all data submitted