Common Name
White Leadwort

Hawaiian Name

Scientific Name
Plumbago zeylanica



Whole plant



Location On Campus

The ‘ilie‘e plant is found next to Kalama Dining hall in the 4th grade native garden.

Natural Habitat

The ‘ilie‘e is found on all of the main Hawaiian islands. The environment in which the ‘ilie‘e lives is dry lowland, dunes, shrubs, and forests. 

Cultural Information

The ‘ilie‘e plant is a native indigenous plant of Hawaii. It was used by Hawaiians for medicine when mixed with the right plants to fix sprains, it is also used for the black ink of tattoos.

Plant Description


  •  Originates from a single base
  • Grows close to the ground, making it seem to be a vine
  • Considered a shrub
  • Can be up to 2m long


  • Green in color
  • Ovate
  • About 16 cm long
  • About 8 cm wide


  • Small, white, star shaped flowers


  • Clustered at the tip of the stems
  • Green or yellow when not ripe
  • Brown when they are ripe


  • Dark brown in color.
  • About 3-4 mm long


  • Birds


  • By cuttings and seeds
Interesting Facts:
  • Poisonous plant

Web Site Links

 Indian Medicinal Plants

This website has pictures of the ‘ilie‘e plant and how it was also used for other things.


Culliney John L., and Koebele Bruce P. A Native Hawaiian Garden. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1999

Krauss, Beatrice, Plants in Hawaiian Medicine. Honolulu: The Bess Press, 2001

Wagner Warren L., Herbest Derral R., and Sohmer S.H. Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai'i , Volume 2. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1990

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