Xylosma hawaiiense

leaf Main Plant Information





Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • Aʻe
  • Maua

Hawaiian Names

  • Ae
  • Maua

Common Names

  • Hawaiʻi brushholly


  • Drypetes forbesii
  • Drypetes sherffii
  • Xylosma hawaiiense var. hillebrandii
  • Xylosma hillebrandii

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status


Endangered Species Status

No Status

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Tree

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Tree, Dwarf, Less than 15
  • Tree, Small, 15 to 30
  • Tree, Medium, 30 to 50

Mature Size, Width

Varies, but generally half the width of the height.

Life Span

Long lived (Greater than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Accent
  • Screening
  • Specimen Plant

Plant Produces Flowers


leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type

Not Showy

Flower Colors

  • Greenish-White
  • White

Additional Flower Color Information

Plants are generally dioecious (male & females flowers on separate plants) or rarely monoecious (male & female flowers on the same plant). The flowers are small and not showy. Fruits (berries) are deep redddish purple with few black seeds.

Blooming Period

  • Sporadic
  • Summer

Additional Blooming Period and Fruiting Information

Maua blooms in the summer but can vary throughout the year according to locality and environment. [1]

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Medium

Leaf Colors

  • Dark Green
  • Light Green
  • Medium Green
  • Red

Additional Leaf Color Information

Mature leaves are medium to dark green. But the liko (new leaves) are the striking feature of this tree with colors of dark red, magenta, orange, orange-brown, yellow, yellowish-green, and/or chartreuse!

leaf Pests and Diseases

leaf Growth Requirements

Water Requirements

  • Dry
  • Moist

Soil must be well drained


Light Conditions

  • Full sun
  • Partial sun


  • Cinder
  • Organic

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Kauaʻi
  • Oʻahu
  • Molokaʻi
  • Lānaʻi
  • Maui
  • Hawaiʻi

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • 150 to 1000, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 150 to 1000, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 150 to 1000, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 1000 to 1999, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 1000 to 1999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 1000 to 1999, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 2000 to 2999, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 2000 to 2999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 2000 to 2999, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 3000 to 3999, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 3000 to 3999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 3000 to 3999, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 4000 to 4999, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 4000 to 4999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 4000 to 4999, Greater than 100 (Wet)


  • Terrestrial

Additional Habitat Information

Maua is found from around 800 to about 4000 feet mostly in mesic forest, but also in dry woodland and wet forest, and aʻā lava fields. Trees are windswept or stunted when exposed. [4]

On West Maui it is known only from a collection in Olowalu Valley and on East Maui and Hawaiʻi Island maua is found primarily on the leeward side of the islands.

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

Maua (Xylosma hawaiiense) is in the Willow family (Salicaceae).

There are two species of maua (Xylosma spp.) endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. The featured species is the most common and widespread of the two. A rare and endangered relative X. crenatum is restricted to a few locations on Kauaʻi (Mōhihi Stream and the upper Nuʻalolo Trail).


The generic name Xylosma is from the Greek xylon, wood, and osma, odor.

The specific epithet hawaiiense refers to the fact that it is from, or belongs to, the Hawaiian Islands.

Hawaiian Names:

Aʻe is a Maui name for this species. This name is also shared by all species of Zanthoxylum spp. and another name for mānele (Sapindus saponaria).

Another meaning for maua is "failure to give a return gift; to receive without giving in return; illiberal, ungrateful, close-fisted." [3] The name relationship, if any, is unclear.

Background Information

There are two more or less recognized varieties: var. hawaiiense with entire leaf margins; and var. hillebrandii with crenate (dentate, serrate) leaf margins.

Maua, along with other native trees such as naio, alaheʻe, lama, wiliwili, ʻohe makai, and hao, once could be found on or near dry Hawaiian coasts. Maua, now in upper mesic to wet forests, vanished from the costal zone. Botanist Joseph Rock in 1912 described the last peitiful specimens of maua in the dryland on arid western Molokaʻi as "the remnant of what was once a beautiful forest." [1,2]


Early Hawaiian Use

Early Hawaiians used the hard, dense wood was for pōhaku kuʻi ʻai (poi pounders).

Modern Use

The wood is reddish brown with light and dark banding resembling growth rings. It is a heavy, hard wood, but easily worked. [4]

Additional References

[1] "The Indigenous Trees of the Hawaiian Islands" by J.F. Rock, page 315.

[2] "Islands In a Far Sea" by John L. Culliney, page 162.

[3] http://www.wehewehe.org [Accessed 09/15/11]

[4] "Common Forest Trees of Hawaii (Native and Introduced)" by Elbert L. Little Jr. and Roger G. Skolmen, page 228.

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