A member of the Coffee family, the Psydrax odorata, has the classic characteristics of the family (opposite, simple leaves, and interpetiolar stipules). It prefers dry conditions but can tolerate moistness if the soil is well-drained. It looks and does best in full sun.
Alahee are desired for their showy white flowers, glossy green leaves, and delicious fragrance. They are a superb substitute for mock orange.
Little maintenance is required. It will grow in both dry and wet areas, provided an appropriate trade-off of adequate drainage and regular water. This shrub can grow to 25 ft and are very hardy when established. Although typically propagated by seed, borers sometimes infest the seeds, reducing the possibility for reproduction but otherwise not affecting the plant.
The Hawaiian name alahe’e means, ‘slippery like the squid (octopus).’ Hawaiians used alahe’e wood to fashion spears for catching he’e (octopus). Other early Hawaiian uses include woodworking (tools, bowls, fishing gear), lei making, creating dyes, and medicinal purposes.
- Container plant
- Cultural significance
- Lei flower
- Privacy / screening
- Toxic to animals and humans