Nototrichium sandwicense

leaf Main Plant Information





Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • Kuluʻī

Hawaiian Names

  • Kului

Common Names

  • Hawaiʻi rockwort


  • Nototrichium fulvum
  • Nototrichium viride
  • Psilotrichum sandwicense
  • Psilotrichum viride
  • Ptilotus sandwicensis

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status


Endangered Species Status

No Status

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Shrub
  • Tree

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Shrub, Small, 2 to 6
  • Shrub, Medium, 6 to 10
  • Shrub, Tall, Greater than 10
  • Tree, Small, 15 to 30

Mature Size, Width

Mature shrubs or small trees can spread to over 20 feet, but generally stays around 3 to 9 feet. [3]

Life Span

Long lived (Greater than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Accent
  • Container
  • Hedges
  • Screening

Additional Landscape Use Information

Kuluī is beautiful as a single free forming, in clusters, or as a trimmed hedge. The downy floral displays are one of the nicest features of this shrub and the silvery foiliage will capture the attention in the landscape. An excellent xeric or drought tolerant plant, use kuluī in a well drained sunny area. Very nice as a accent shrub with other native xeric trees and shrubs.

Kuluī may be grown as container plants in full sun with regular watering. [2]

Comapnion Plants:

Koaiʻa, wiliwili, naio, nāʻu, ʻaʻaliʻi, ʻūlei, ʻohe makai, lonomea (āulu), and mānele* to name a few.

* These plants can be found on this website using the "Browse Plants" feature found at the top. Enter names without diacritics.

Plant Produces Flowers


leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type


Flower Colors

  • Cream
  • White

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Medium

Additional Plant Texture Information

Leaves are silky with a silverish gray color. They range between .5 and 5 inches long.

Leaf Colors

  • Gray / Silverish

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

Ants, scales, mealybugs, aphids, thrips

leaf Growth Requirements


Apply 13-13-13 slow release fertilize every six months. Foliar feeding in early morning with a water-soluble or an organic fertilizer (e.g. kelp or fish emulsion) at one-third to one-fourth the recommended strength every other month has proved beneficial.

Pruning Information

Olde plants may become straggly, but judicious pruning will stimulate vigorous new growth. [3]

Water Requirements

  • Dry

Soil must be well drained


Light Conditions

  • Full sun


  • Drought
  • Salt Spray
  • Heat


  • Cinder
  • Organic

Special Growing Needs

Clay and otherwise heavy soils should be avoided. But if planting in such soils, provide good drainage by adding cinder and sloping or mounding the plant bed. [3]

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Niʻihau
  • Kauaʻi
  • Oʻahu
  • Molokaʻi
  • Lānaʻi
  • Maui
  • Kahoʻolawe
  • 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)

Additional Habitat Information

Scattered to sometimes common in open dry forests, exposed ridges, and lava fields from sea level to 2,460 feet.

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

Kuluʻī belong to the Amaranth family (Amaranthaceae). Other native Hawaiian family members include five species of Charpentiera, a rare and little known amaranth (Amaranthus brownii) from Nīhoa, ʻāweoweo (Chenopodium oahuense), and three species of Achyranthes.


The generic name Nototrichium comes from the Latin nota, remarkable and tricho, hair, probably referring to the dense pubescence of the plants.

The species name sandwicensis refers to the "Sandwich Islands," as the Hawaiian Islands were once called, and named by James Cook on one of his voyages in the 1770s. James Cook named the islands after John Montagu (The fourth Earl of Sandwich) for supporting Cook's voyages.

Background Information

Kuluʻī is highly variable in leaf size, density of hair, and length of flower spikes. More than 20 varieties have been described. [3]

Early Hawaiian Use

Apparently, the flowers and wood of kuluʻī were packed into a hallow stem such as bamboo (ʻohe), lit on fire and thrown from a particular cliff. The  fiery material would eject much is an aerial display much like modern-day fireworks. [1] Pāpala (Charpentiera spp.) were also used in a similar manner. (See Plant Profiles for Charpentiera)

Modern Use

The flower spikes and new leaves can be used in head lei or flower arrangements. [Rick Barboza, Hui Kū Moali Ola]

Additional References

[1] "Amy Greenwell Garden Ethnobotanical Guide to Native Hawaiian Plants & Polynesian Introduced Plants" by Noa Kekuewa Lincoln, page 67.

[2] "Container Gardening in Hawaii" by Janice Crowl, page 52.

[3] "How to Plant a Native Hawaiian Garden" by Kenneth M. Nagata, page "Kuluʻī."



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