Chrysodracon halapepe

leaf Main Plant Information

Genus

Chrysodracon

Species

halapepe

Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • Hala pepe
  • Leʻie

Hawaiian Names

  • Hala pepe
  • Leie

Common Names

  • Oʻahu hala pepe

Synonyms

  • Dracaena halapepe
  • Peomele halapepe

Names with Unknown Sources

  • Hala-a-pepe [1]
  • Halapepe (an incorrect spelling for the Hawaiian name)

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status

Endemic

Endangered Species Status

No Status

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Tree

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Tree, Small, 15 to 30
  • Tree, Medium, 30 to 50

Life Span

Long lived (Greater than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Accent
  • Specimen Plant

Additional Landscape Use Information

This species is rather slow growing, but is a beautiful plant and well worth cultivating.

Plant Produces Flowers

Yes

leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type

Showy

Flower Colors

  • Yellow

Additional Blooming Period and Fruiting Information

This beautiful species (C. halapepe) very rarely flowers and has apparently been collected only a few times flowering.

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Coarse

Leaf Colors

  • Dark Green
  • Medium Green

leaf Pests and Diseases

leaf Growth Requirements

Pruning Information

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

Water Requirements

  • Dry

Soil must be well drained

Yes

Light Conditions

  • Full sun
  • Partial sun

Additional Lighting Information

This hala pepe prefers full sun conditions, but has been observed in wild and under cultivation growing in part sun locations as well. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Tolerances

  • Drought
  • Wind

Soils

  • Cinder
  • Organic

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Oʻahu

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • 150 to 1000, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 150 to 1000, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 1000 to 1999, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 1000 to 1999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 2000 to 2999, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 2000 to 2999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)

Additional Habitat Information

From 590 to 2000 feet in dry and diverse mesic forests.

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

The endemic genus Chrysodracon has been placed in the family Asparagaceae. [5]

Etymology

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). [5]

The specific epithet halapepe is named for hala pepe, which in fact is the Hawaiian name for all six members of these plants.

Hawaiian Names:

The Hawaiian name hala pepe (pēpē means baby) apparently meaning "baby hala," is most likely named for its likeness to hala. [3]

Halapepe, one word, has at times been used for the vernacular name of this species, whereas it is generally referred to as hala pepe, a two word name. [4] The specific epithet, though, for this particular species is written as one word: halapepe.

Background Information

There are six endemic species of hala pepe (Chrysodracon spp.). 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). [1]

Early Hawaiian Use

Early Hawaiians used the leaves in bathing and steam baths for chills (liʻa), headaches, fever, and thought to stop burning temperature or sensation. [2]

Modern Use

Leaves and flowers are used in lei making today.

Additional References

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

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

[3] "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.

[4] Hawaiian Dictionaries online http://www.wehewehe.org [11/16/11]

[5] "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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