Kadua acuminata

leaf Main Plant Information





Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • Au
  • Pilo

Hawaiian Names

  • Au
  • Pilo


  • Hedyotis acuminata
  • Kadua grandis
  • Kadua grandis f. pubituba
  • Kadua kaalae
  • Kadua petiolata
  • Kadua petiolata var. ovalifolia

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status


Endangered Species Status

No Status

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Sprawling Shrub
  • Shrub

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

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

Mature Size, Width

Variable from a few feet to over 8 feet.

Life Span

Long lived (Greater than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Accent
  • Container

Source of Fragrance

  • Flowers
  • Leaves

Additional Fragrance Information

Au does not have a pleasant fragrance. The leaves produce a foetid, or foul smell, when bruised or crushed. Flowers have a similar smell but weaker.

Plant Produces Flowers


leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type

Not Showy

Flower Colors

  • Greenish-White
  • White
  • Yellow

Additional Flower Color Information

Flowers are variable in color ranging from yellowish-green, occasionally green and apparently rarely (Kauaʻi) greenish-white.

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Fine
  • Medium

Leaf Colors

  • Dark Green

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

In cultivation, mealybugs, scale and thrips can plague the plants if not monitored. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Aphids are also said to be pests.

leaf Growth Requirements


Foliar feed plants monthly or every other month with a dilution of fish or kelp emulsion. The plants also respond well to monthly foliar and/or soil feedings, at half or one-third recommended strength, of a slightly acidic fertilizer such as Miracle-Gro Miracid. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Water Requirements

  • Moist

Soil must be well drained


Light Conditions

  • Partial sun


  • Cinder
  • Organic

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Kauaʻi
  • Oʻahu
  • Molokaʻi
  • Lānaʻi
  • Maui
  • Hawaiʻi

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)


  • Terrestrial

Additional Habitat Information

Au is found on all the Main Islands in mesic to occasionally wet forests from 295 to 2625.

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

Au is a member of the very large Coffee family or Rubiaceae of more than 13,000 species throughout the world. The family is well represented in the islands with about 60 species.

The genus Kadua is comprised of 30 species total in the Pacific region and most are represented in the Hawaiian Archipelago with 25 endemic species. Recently a revision of the genus Hedyotis was made and the genus Kadua is accepted for all Hedyotis in the Hawaiian Islands. [1]



Kadua is the oldest generic name for these species and is named in memory of M. Kadua, a native of Ulea, who sailed with Otto von Kotzebue (1787-1846), Baltic German navigator in Russian service, with the purpose of collecting plants. [1,2]

The specific epithet acuminata is from the Latin acuminatus meaning "with a long, narrow and pointed tip" [3] in reference to the long, narrow leaves of this species.

Background Information

This species is very closely related and similar in foliage to the rare kamapuaʻa (Kadua fluviatilis). The two will easily hybridize if they are grown together. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Early Hawaiian Use

 No known use.

Modern Use

There appear to be few plants in cultivation of this common and easy to grow native shrub.

Additional References

[1] "Resurrection of Genus Kadua for Hedyotidinae (Rubiaceae)" by Edward E. Terrell, page 819, 831.

[2] "A General System of Gardening and Botany, Vol. 3," by George Don, page 533.

[3] "The Names of Plants" by David Gledhill, page 36.




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