Hawaiian Name

Common Name

Scientific Name
Pipturus albidus



Whole Plant



Leaf Stems

Red Veins on Leaf

Location On Campus

It is located in Kalama Garden next to the boys bathroom and hugging the end of the garden. It is also located in the garden by Keawe Gym.

Natural Habitat

This plant grows on all major islands in the Hawaiian chain besides Ni‘ihau and Kaho‘olawe. It grows at elevations of 75-2000 meters, in shady places.

Cultural Information

The mämaki is endemic to Hawaii. It was used by the ancient Hawaiians to make tapa cloth. This type of tapa was more soft and flexible. With this cloth they made capes, bed covers, loincloths, and skirts.

Plant Description


  • Light brown bark
  • Woody stem


  • Heart shaped
  • They feel fuzzy because of short hairs on the bottom of it
  • Feels a little bit like sandpaper
  • Top is light green
  • Three main veins under the leaf
  • Serrate margin
  • Palmate venation
  • Compound leaf


  • Female parts look fuzzy because there are many stigmas of other flowers


  • Waxy, white, tasteless fruit
  • Birds are attracted to this fruit


  • Located in depressions in the stigma
  • Depressions are open


  • Birds
  • Kamehameha butterfly
  • Blackburn butterfly

Life Cycle/

  • Germinates 2 to 3 weeks after planting
  • Produces fruit after 2 years


  • Remove the seeds from the fleshy white fruit
  • Good technique is putting it in a plastic bag to soften the pulp
  • Put a mixture of the seeds and water in compacted medium

Interesting Facts:

  • Common breeding place for native caterpillars

Web Site Links


On this site you will find some information on how the mämaki was used and a little picture of it.

Instructions for Planting Mämaki

On this site you will find a very complete set of instructions for planting in any kind of environment for this plant.

Native Hawaiian Plants

This site has great amount of information on all native plants, including some on the mämaki.



Herbst, Derral R., Sohmer, S.H., and Warren Wagner, L. Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai'i. Hawai'i: Library of Congress Cataloging-in-publication data, 1990.

Identification of Materials Used in Traditional Craftwork. Clyde Imada, photographer. Honolulu Star Bulletin, 13 Mar. 2003 <>.

Krauss, Beatrice H. Ethnobotany in Hawai‘i. Hawaii: U.H. Dept. of Botany. copyright unknown.

Krauss, Beatrice H. Plants in Hawaiian Medicine. U.S.A.: The Bess Press, 2001.

 Mämaki. 27 Jan. 2003. Waipahu High School, 12 Mar. 2003 <>.

 Pipturus albidus. 11 Mar. 2000. University of Hawai'i at Manoa. 14 Mar. 2003 <>.

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