Hawaiian Names with Diacritics
- Hinahina kolo
- Kolokolo kahakai
- Hinahina kolo
- Kolokolo kahakai
- Beach vitex
- Round-leaf chastetree
- Round-leaf vitex
Endangered Species Status
Plant Form / Growth Habit
- Sprawling Shrub
Mature Size, Height (in feet)
- Shrub, Dwarf, Less than 2
- Shrub, Small, 2 to 6
- Shrub, Medium, 6 to 10
Mature Size, Width
Pōhinahina form low medium sized shrubs 6 to 8 feet wide. The height to width ratio is 1:2.
Long lived (Greater than 5 years)
- Erosion Control
- Ground Cover
Additional Landscape Use Information
Allow a lot of room for pōhinahina to spread. Out plant with ʻaʻaliʻi and native trees like wiliwili or naio. Often seen as a landscape shrub along highways and freeways.
Source of Fragrance
Additional Fragrance Information
Pōhinahina leaves are aromatic with a sage-like spicy odor when crushed and smelling much like the simpleleaf vitex (Vitex trifolia) frequently used in Hawaiian landscaping as hedges.
Other descriptions of the leaf fragrance are black pepper, basil, minty, and fir trees or "like being in a forest."
Plant Produces Flowers
Additional Flower Color Information
Pōhinahina has bell-shaped flowers with blue violet corollas (petals).
- Year Round
Additional Plant Texture Information
Leaves range from under an inch to over 2 1/2 inches long.
- Light Green
Additional Leaf Color Information
The leaves are pale green or bluish green with a lower surface that is grayish white.
Additional Pest & Disease Information
Shrubs are prone to ants, scale, aphids, mealy bugs, and spittle bugs. During wet periods, a type of leaf rot fungus or powdery mildew may appear. It will usually clear up with drier weather.
An application of a balanced slow release fertilize with minor elements every 6 months. Foliar feed monthly with kelp or fish emulsion, or a water-soluble fertilizer with a dilution of one half to one third of recommended strength. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]
Pōhinahina prunes well, forming thick hedges or ground covers. A good container plant and also hanging baskets if pruned regularly. Regular pruning encourages new growth. Prune to manage size and shape and to stimulate compactness.
Additional Water Information
Under very wet conditions or prolonged rainy periods a leaf rot fungus or powdery mildew may appear but usually will clear up when water decreases. Once plant is established water only during prolonged drought periods. Pōhinahina can become leggy with too much water and fertilizer.
Soil must be well drained
- Full sun
Additional Lighting Information
Plants can become leggy if grown too shaded.
Plants should be spaced between 2 to 4 ft. apart.
- Salt Spray
Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)
- Less than 150, 0 to 50 (Dry)
Additional Habitat Information
Pōhinahina is indigenous and is naturally found on sandy beaches, rocky shores and dunes on most of the main islands to about 50 feet above sea level.
Pōhinahina has been recently placed in the very large Mint family (Lamiaceae) of some 7,000 species! The number of well known, mostly aromatic, members is amazing, and they include spearmint, peppermint, lavender, rosemary, basil, sage (Salvia), savory, marjoram, oregano, thyme, shiso or perilla, yerba buena, lion's ear (Leonotis), coleus, chia, lemon balm (Melissa), horehound, pennyroyal, catnip, hyssop, clerodendrum, teak (Tectona), and Mesona, used in making "grass jelly."
The native Hawaiian members of Lamiaceae include the endemics: Honohono (Haplostachys haplostachya), the only existing one of five species; Stenogyne with 21 species; and the nearly endemic Phyllostegia comprising of 32 species. The indigenous members are pōhinahina, ʻalaʻala wai nui wahine (Plectranthus parviflorus), and the pitcher sage or pakaha (Lepechinia hastata), questionably indigenous.
The generic name Vitex is derived from the Latin viere, to bind or twist, in reference to the flexible creeping stems of some species.
The specific epithet rotundifolia is from the Latin rotundatus, rounded, and folius, leaves, in reference to the round-shaped leaves of this species.
Pōlinalina is an Oʻahu name for this plant.
Early Hawaiian Use
The edible leaves were used to relieve illnesses such as wela (burning sensation), and nalulu (dull heache, dull pain in stomch, queasy). The liquid when processed can be used to bathe in. 
The fragrant foliage as well as the flowers were used in lei making. 
The flowers and pungent leaves are used today in lei work.
Foliage and flowers can be used in dried floral arrangements due to their longevity as cut material. [Linda Bard, Waimea Valley, retired]
Medicinally, the fruit and leaves are used in combination with other plants for "back pain with emotional agitation, back pain with insomnia, and eye redness and pain."
 "Nā Lei Makamae--The Treasured Lei" by Marie A. McDonald & Paul R. Weissich, page 48.
 "Native Hawaiian Medicine--Volume III" by The Rev. Kaluna M. Kaʻaiakamanu, page 73.
 "Medicine at Your Feet: Healing Plants of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Volume 1," by David Bruce Leonard, pages 181, 183.
Back to Plant List
Other Nursery Profiles for Vitex rotundifolia