Hibiscus furcellatus

leaf Main Plant Information





Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • Aloalo
  • Hau hele
  • Hau hele wai
  • ʻAkiahala
  • ʻAkiohala

Hawaiian Names

  • Akiahala
  • Akiohala
  • Aloalo
  • Hau hele
  • Hau hele wai

Common Names

  • Hawaiian pink hibiscus
  • Linden-leaf rosemallow
  • Lindenleaf rosemallow
  • Rosemallow


  • Hibiscus furcallatus var. youngianus
  • Hibiscus furcellatus var. youngianus
  • Hibiscus youngianus

Names with Unknown Sources

  • Purple hibiscus

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status


Endangered Species Status

No Status

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Shrub

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

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

Mature Size, Width

ʻAkiohala has a 6- to 8-foot spread.

Life Span

Long lived (Greater than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Container
  • Hedges
  • Screening

Additional Landscape Use Information

ʻAkiohala can be grown along water features or even with roots submerged in water. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Source of Fragrance

  • No Fragrance

Plant Produces Flowers


leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type


Flower Colors

  • Light Purple
  • Pink

Additional Flower Color Information

Flower colors range from pale magenta or rose to light purple, with deeper shades at the base and dark purple centers and last a day.

Blooming Period

  • Year Round

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Medium
  • Coarse

Additional Plant Texture Information

The leaves of ʻakiohala are 2 to 6 inches long and have a fine sandpaper-like texture.

Leaf Colors

  • Medium Green

Additional Leaf Color Information

This hibiscus has coarse heart-shaped leaves.

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

Plants are prone to sucking insects. Chinese rose beetles will chew holes in leaves and can be removed by hand at night.

leaf Growth Requirements


Fertilize ʻakiohala using a 2-1-3 or 2-.5-3 ratio with minor elements. It is important to keep the phosphorus low because it tends to accumulate and prevents the nitrogen and potassium from working. Minor elements such as magnesium and iron are also important to maintain healthy green foliage. [1]

Pruning Information

Spent seed heads can be trimmed for a more attractive appearance since they tend to be numerous. Because of the prickly spiny hairs use thick gloves when trimming off seed pods.

Water Requirements

  • Moist
  • Wet

Additional Water Information

ʻAkiohala naturally grow in marshes or other wet locations but do not require wet areas to flourish. [Rick Barboza, Hui Kū Maoli Ola]

Soil must be well drained


Light Conditions

  • Full sun
  • Partial sun

Additional Lighting Information

ʻAkiohala prefers full sun.


  • Waterlogged Soil


  • Organic


ʻAkiohala is intolerant of salty conditions. [Anna Palomino, Hoʻolawa Farms]

Stalks covered with bristled hairs and can make handling difficult without good gloves.

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Kauaʻi
  • Oʻahu
  • Maui
  • Hawaiʻi

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • Less than 150, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 150 to 1000, 50 to 100 (Mesic)

Additional Habitat Information

This indigenous species is primarily found in wet forests, swampy disturbed sites, and marshy areas near sea level in the West Indies, Florida, and Central and South America.

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

The large Mallow family Malvaceae contains some 2,300 species, with notables such as okra, cacao, durian, baobab, kenaf, and cotton. [3]

There are perhaps as many as 300 species worldwide in the genus Hibiscus. There are six native species of hibiscuses in Hawaiʻi and all but one are endemic.


The generic name Hibiscus is derived from hibiscos, the Greek name for mallow.

The Latin specific epithet furcellatus, refers to having a small forked notch (at the apex). [5]

Hawaiian Names:

ʻAkiahala and ʻAkiohala are variant spellings of the name given to this species.

Aloalo is the name given for hibiscus in general.

Hau is an introduced hibiscus (Hibiscus tiliaceus), perhaps by early Hawaiians. Hau hele literally means "traveling hau."

Hau hele wai means "traveling hau in water," due to its swampy habitat.

Background Information

Hibiscus furcellatus is the only indigenous species of hibiscus in Hawaiʻi, the others are endemic. Stems are covered with bristled hairs on specimens from the Hawaiian Islands, a feature absent or with very little hairs, outside of the islands.

ʻAkiohala is one of two native pink flowering hibiscuses. The other is a form of Hibiscus kokio formerly referred to as "Hibiscus kahilii" and has light to dark pink flowers.

Early Hawaiian Use


ʻAkiohala were cultivated by the early Hawaiians. [2]


The bases of the buds of hau hele (H. arnottianus, H. furcellatus) were chewed by the mother and given to infants as a laxative. [2,4] Too, children would chew and swallow seeds for general weakness of the body. [4]

Additional References

[1] Jill Coryell, Hibiscus Lady

[2] "Native Planters in Old Hawaii--Their Life, Lore, & Environment" by E. S. Handy and Elizabeth Green Handy, page 233.

[3] [Accessed 10/14/09]

[4] "Hawaiian Herbs of Medicinal Value," by D.M. Kaaiakamanu & J.K. Akina, page 40.

[5] "The Names of Plants" by David Gledhill, page 172.



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