Vigna marina

leaf Main Plant Information





Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • Lemuomakili
  • Mohihihi
  • Nanea
  • Nenea
  • Pūhili
  • Pūhilihili
  • Pūlihilihi
  • Wahine ʻōmaʻo
  • ʻŌkolemakili

Hawaiian Names

  • Lemuomakili
  • Mohihihi
  • Nanea
  • Nenea
  • Okolemakili
  • Puhili
  • Puhilihili
  • Pulihilihi
  • Wahine omao

Common Names

  • Beach pea
  • Notched cowpea


  • Dolichos luteus
  • Phaseolus marinus
  • Scytalis anomala
  • Vigna luteus
  • Vigna retusa

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status


Endangered Species Status

No Status

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Non-Woody, Spreading
  • Vine/Liana

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Herbaceous, Short, Less than 1

Mature Size, Width

Each plant can grow from 5 to 15 feet or more.

Life Span

Short lived (Less than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Accent
  • Erosion Control
  • Ground Cover
  • Trellis or Fence Climber

Additional Landscape Use Information

The nitrogen-fixing nanea will provide other plants growing in the area with a ready source of free fertilizer in the form of nitrogen. This vine is great for open, sunny areas as a groundcover and especially good for beach front properties. [2] Give nanea plenty of room to spread. The beautiful bright yellow flowers look contrast nicely against a dark background such as black or red cinder.

Source of Fragrance

  • No Fragrance

Plant Produces Flowers


leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type

Not Showy

Flower Colors

  • Green
  • Yellow

Additional Flower Color Information

Nanea, or mohihihi, have slightly waxy, pea-shaped yellow green to bright yellow flowers which may not be visible.

Blooming Period

  • Sporadic

Additional Blooming Period and Fruiting Information

A perennial. Nanea seed pods turn brown upon ripening and being dehiscent...that is, explosive!, the seeds will be scattered over the immediate area. Seedlings will appear in rainy weather or when the area is watered.

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Fine
  • Medium

Additional Plant Texture Information

Leaves range from 1 1/2 to over 4 inches long.

Leaf Colors

  • Medium Green

Additional Leaf Color Information

Nanea leaves are diamond-shaped and are sparsely to moderately covered with course hairs.

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

This vining groundcover is prone to ants, spider mites, leaf miners, and seed weevils.

leaf Growth Requirements


These nitrogen-fixing vines do not require additional nitrogen in fertilizer. 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 monthly has proved beneficial. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Pruning Information

As a sprawling vine, nanea may require trimming back to confine to growing areas. Pruning also encourages new and fuller growth.

Water Requirements

  • Dry

Additional Water Information

Water in plants then water weekly if weather is dry. Allow drying between waterings.

Soil must be well drained


Light Conditions

  • Full sun
  • Partial sun

Additional Lighting Information

Nanea, or mohihihi, does best in full sun but tolerates partial shade. [Rick Barboza, Hui Kū Maoli Ola]

Spacing Information

Plants should be spaced 1 to 3 ft. apart. They spread rapidly as a groundcover.


  • Drought
  • Wind
  • Salt Spray
  • Heat


  • Sand
  • Cinder
  • Organic
  • Coral

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Kauaʻi
  • Oʻahu
  • Molokaʻi
  • Maui
  • Hawaiʻi

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • Less than 150, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 150 to 1000, 0 to 50 (Dry)

Additional Habitat Information

Nanea is known to grow at the vegetation line on sandy beaches. Rarely found inland on sea cliffs and dry shrubby slopes to about 395 feet.

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

The indigenous nanea, or mohihihi, is one of three Vigna species native to the Hawaiian Islands and a member of the Pea family (Fabaceae).

Another indigenous species, the wild pea (Vigna adenantha), was found on Oʻahu (Diamond Head) and Hawaiʻi Island but has not been seen since the early 1850's. The rare and endangered Vigna o-wahuensis, with no known Hawaiian name, is the only endemic species.

Several closely related vigna species are grown for food worldwide. Among them are shōzu or azuki bean (Vigna angularis), urad bean or black gram (V. mungo), rice bean (V. umbellata), mung bean (V. radiata), Chinese long bean (V. unguiculata spp. sesquipedalis) and black-eyed pea (V. unguiculata spp. dekindtiana). [1]


The generic name Vigna is named in honor of Dominico Vigna (?-1647), doctor, horticulturalist and professor of botany at the University of Pisa, Italy.

The specific epithet is from the Latin marina, sea, in reference to the coastal, salt tolerant habitat of this species.

Early Hawaiian Use

The leaves, stalk, midrib (kua), and stems were pounded until soft and applied to wounds and hēhē (boils, running sore, ulcerous). [3]

Additional References

[1] [accessed 10/10/08]

[2] "Hawaiian Coastal Plants and Scenic Shorelines" by Mark David Merlin, page 35.

[3] "Native Hawaiian Medicine--Volume III" by The Rev. Kaluna M. Kaʻaiakamanu, page 80.



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