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Photo Credit: Forest & Kim Starr

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Photo Credit: Big Island Plants

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Photo Credit: Jimmy Parker


  • SYNONYMS Boehmeria albida, Perlarius albidus, Pipturus brighamii, Pipturus eriocarpus, Pipturus gaudichaudianus, Pipturus hawaiiensis, Pipturus helleri, Pipturus oahuensis, Pipturus pachyphyllus, Pipturus pterocarpus, Pipturus rockii, Pipturus skottsbergii, Pipturus taitensis, Waimea pipturus
  • FAMILY Urticaceae
  • PLANT TYPE Shrub
  • WATER REQUIRMENTS Tolerates saturated soil
  • SOIL REQUIRMENTS Tolerates many soil types
  • SUN EXPOSURE Full sun to Partial sun
  • DRAINAGE REQUIRED No special drainage required
  • PROPAGATION METHODS Seeds & Vegetative

Pipturus albidus
(mamaki, Waimea pipturus)

Mamaki is a beautiful small tree with red-tinted veins, stems and petioles. It grows along streams and prefers wet areas. Although a member of the nettle family, it does not produce stinging hairs. Mamaki is especailly prized for attracting two endemic butterflies (the Kamehameha butterfly and the Koa butterfly) as well as non-native butterflies, so caution must be used when spraying insecticides on the plant or nearby. Leaves are medicinal in tea, said to be good for high blood pressure, cholesterol, and good sleep with dreams. New leaf buds can be eaten as a tonic. Fruit used as mild laxative. A form of kapa was made from mamaki, often mixed with wauke, and resulted in a brownish kapa cloth. Mamaki is great for a butterfly garden, kapa garden, or in habitat restoration. It grows well along streams.

Plant Uses

  • Privacy-screening plant
  • Specimen
  • Container plant
  • Aquatic plant
  • Medicinal
  • Cultural significance
  • Edible