Lepidium bidentatum var. o-waihiense

leaf Main Plant Information






  • o-waihiense

Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • Kūnānā
  • Naunau
  • ʻĀnaunau
  • ʻĀnounou

Hawaiian Names

  • Anaunau
  • Anounou
  • Kunana
  • Naunau

Common Names

  • Kūnānā pepperwort
  • Peppergrass
  • Pepperweed
  • Pepperwort


  • Lepidium o-waihiense

Names with Unknown Sources

  • Scurvy grass
  • Scurvygrass

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status


Endangered Species Status

No Status

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Partially Woody / Shrub-like

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Herbaceous, Short, Less than 1
  • Herbaceous, Medium, 1-3
  • Shrub, Dwarf, Less than 2
  • Shrub, Small, 2 to 6

Mature Size, Width

These small shrubs can be from 1 to over 2 feet wide.

Life Span

Short lived (Less than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Accent
  • Container
  • Ground Cover

Additional Landscape Use Information

ʻĀnaunau is easy to grow and self propagates. They form loose small herbaceous shrubs to dense covering as a groundcover. These herbs seem more suited for the herb garden, than as a landscape plant.

Source of Fragrance

  • All Parts

Additional Fragrance Information

The edible leaves have a peppery smell and flavor to them and can be added to spice up green salads. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Plant Produces Flowers


leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type

Not Showy

Flower Colors

  • White

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Fine
  • Medium

Leaf Colors

  • Dark Green
  • Medium Green

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

Thrips and red spider mites.

leaf Growth Requirements

Pruning Information

The spent flowers/fruits can be trimmed off for a cleaner appearance.

Water Requirements

  • Dry
  • Moist

Additional Water Information

Naturally found on the dry side but they appreciate moisture and foliage will be more lush.

Soil must be well drained


Light Conditions

  • Full sun
  • Partial sun


  • Drought
  • Wind
  • Salt Spray
  • Heat


  • Sand
  • Cinder
  • Organic
  • Coral

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

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

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • Less than 150, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • Less than 150, 50 to 100 (Mesic)


  • Terrestrial

Additional Habitat Information

Lepedium bidentatum is found throughout the Pacific region but is sporadic in distribution. However, var. bidentatum is not found in the Hawaiian Archipelago.

ʻĀnaunau (Lepidium bidentatum var. o-waihiense), an endemic variety, is found on all the Main Islands, except Niʻihau and Kahoʻolawe. In the Northwest Islands it is found on Kure Atoll (Kānemilohaʻi) and Pearl & Hermes Atoll (Holoikauaua), but now extinct on Midway (Pihemanu) and Laysan (Kauō). It can be found from sea level to about 280 feet on dry, rocky slopes near the coast.

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

Lepedium bidentatum belongs to the same family (Brassicaceae) as mustard, cabbage, turnip, horseradish, and wasabi. There are five endemic species known in the Hawaiian Islands.

While Lepidium serra, also called ʻānaunau, from Kauaʻi is perhaps secure in their numbers, two others, Lepidium arbuscula from the leeward Waiʻanae Mountains on Oʻahu and Lepidium orbiculare from Haʻupu Ridge, Kauaʻi, are both endangered species.

The fifth species Remy's pepperweed (Lepidium remyi), once considered a variety of bidentatum, was collected by French naturalist Jules Achille Rémy (1826–1893) between 1851 and 1855 on Hawaiʻi Island (specific locality unknown) and a single collection made by Otto Degner in 1949 in "Metrosideros" forest on the lava flow of 1859 probably represents this species. This species is now presumed extinct.

There is also at least five naturalized (non-native) Lepidium spp. in the islands.


The generic name Lepidium is derived from the Greek lepis, scale, in reference to the small, flat, scale-like fruit.

The specific epithet bidentatum is from the Latin bidentatus, double toothed, in reference to the serrated or toothed leaves.

The specific epithet o-wahaiense has reference to an old spelling version of O-Waihi for Hawaiʻi. [3]

Interestingly, author William Bright notes this regarding Owyhee County (Idaho): "From Chinook Jargon [owáihi] 'Sandwich Islands, Hawaiʻi, borrowed either from English or from the Hawaiʻian form Hawaiʻi, at a time in the early nineteenth century when a number of Hawaiʻians had settled in the Pacific Northwest (D. Kinkade p.c.) The placename Owyhee also occurs in Ore. (Malheur Co.)." [4]

Background Information

ʻĀnaunau, or pepperweed, also imparts the same sharp peppery bite to its flavor as its cousins elsewhere in the world.

Early Hawaiian Use

The plant (root) was used medicinally by early Hawaiians. [2,5]

Modern Use

Leaves of other Lepedium bidentatum varieties are eaten raw or cooked and used as for medicinal purposes in other parts of Polynesia. [1]

Additional References

[1] "Flowers of the Pacific Island Seashore" by Dr. W. Arthur Whistler, page 93.

[2] "Native Hawaiian Medicine--Volume III" by The Rev. Kaluna M. Kaʻaiakamanu, page 76.

[3] "The Voices of Eden: A History of Hawaiian Language Studies" by Albert J. Schütz, page 46.

[4] "Native American Placenames of the United States" by William Bright, page 362.

[5] Hawaiian Dictionaries http://wehewehe.olelo.hawaii.edu [Accessed 01/20/12]

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