Chrysodracon aurea

leaf Main Plant Information





Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • Hala pepe
  • Leʻie

Hawaiian Names

  • Hala pepe
  • Leie

Common Names

  • Golden hala pepe
  • Kauaʻi hala pepe


  • Dracaena aurea
  • Draco aurea
  • Pleomele aurea
  • Pleomele stenophylla

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status


Endangered Species Status

No Status

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Partially Woody / Shrub-like
  • Tree

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

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

Life Span

Long lived (Greater than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Accent
  • Container
  • Specimen Plant

Additional Landscape Use Information

Hala pepe are generally slow growing, but well worth the effort.

These attractive plants can be used as an alternate for the money tree and other dracaenas.

Plant Produces Flowers


leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type


Flower Colors

  • Green
  • White
  • Yellow

Additional Flower Color Information

Hala pepe displays a beautiful hanging inflorescence (panicles) of greenish-yellow tubular flowers.

Blooming Period

  • Summer
  • Fall

Additional Blooming Period and Fruiting Information

Round red berries follow flowering period.

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Coarse

Additional Plant Texture Information

Hala pepe leaves range from 20 to 22 inches long.

Leaf Colors

  • Medium Green

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

Hala pepe is prone to scale. Root-chewing arthropods attack young plants.

leaf Growth Requirements


An application of a balanced slow release fertilize with minor elements is beneficial every six months. Foliar feed monthly with a kelp or fish emulsion, or a water-soluble fertilizer with a dilution of one-half to one-third of the recommended strength. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi] Use caution not to over fertilize hala pepe.

Pruning Information

None necessary except to remove dead lower leaves and spent fruit stems (panicles).

Water Requirements

  • Dry

Additional Water Information

This hala pepe will tolerate both moist and dry conditions.

Soil must be well drained


Light Conditions

  • Full sun
  • Partial sun

Additional Lighting Information

Hala pepe does best in full sun.


  • Drought
  • Wind


  • Cinder
  • Organic


Good drainage is necessary for hala pepe. [2]

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Kauaʻi

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • 150 to 1000, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 1000 to 1999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 2000 to 2999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 3000 to 3999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)

Additional Habitat Information

This species of hala pepe is found in diverse mesic forests and hala forests at elevations from 400 to over 3,500 feet on Kauaʻi.

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

The endemic genus Chrysodracon has been placed in the family Asparagaceae. [7]


The former generic name Pleomele is derived from the Greek pleon, many, and melon, apple, in reference to the large inflorescence that produce many fruits.

The current generic name Chrysodracon is from the Greek Chrsyo, golden, and dracon, dragon, referring to the unique yellow (golden) flowers of this genus; other dracaena have white, green and/or purple tepals (flowers). [7]

The Latin specific epithet aurea, golden, in reference to the golden yellow flowers, in fact which all Hawaiian species possess.

Hawaiian Names:

The Hawaiian name hala pepe (pēpē means baby) apparently meaning "baby hala," is most likely named for its likeness to hala. [1]

Halapepe, as one word, has at times been used for this species, whereas it is generally referred to as hala pepe, a two word name. [6]

Background Information

Some of the most distinctive features among the Hawaiian species of hala pepe are found in leaf length, width and shape, and in the characteristic perianth, the portion of the flower that has petals and sepals (tepals). [3]

Early Hawaiian Use


Leaves, roots, and root bark of this species (P. aurea) were mixed with other plants and pounded together. The liquid was then taken for asthma and lung problems. The buds, roots, and root bark were prepared in a similar way for chills (liʻa), headaches, fever, and thought to stop buring temperature or sensation. [4,5]


The soft wood was used by early Hawaiians to make idols and to decorate altars.

Modern Use

Leaves and flowers are used in lei making today.

Additional References

[1] "Endangered Plants and Threatened Ecosystems on the Island of Hawaiʻi" by J. Juvik, J. DeLay, M. Merlin, M. Castillo, L. Perry, K. Kinney, page 30.

[2] "Small Trees for Tropical Landscape" by Fred D. Rauch & Paul R. Weissich, page 96.

[3] "Monograph of the Hawaiian Species of Pleomele (Liliaceae)," by Harold St. John, pages 171-189.

[4] "Hawaiian Herbs of Medicinal Value," by D.M. Kaaiakamanu & J.K. Akina, page 42.

[5] "Native Hawaiian Medicine--Volume III" by The Rev. Kaluna M. Kaʻaiakamanu, pages 47-48.

[6] Hawaiian Dictionaries online [11/16/11]

[7] "Phylogenetic Relationships among Dracaenoid Genera (Asparagaceae: Nolinoideae) Inferred from Chloroplast DNA Loci" by Pei Luen-Lu and Clifford W. Morden, pages 91, 101.

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