Hawaiian Name

Common Name

Scientific Name
Sesbania tomentosa



Whole Plant





Location On Campus

The location of the ‘ohai shrub is between Keawe gym and the dorms.

Natural Habitat

The ‘ohai shrub is found on all major Hawaiian islands. It usually grows in coastal areas.

Cultural Information

The ‘ohai shrub is endemic to the Hawaiian islands. The ‘ohai shrub is also endangered. This plant is used in many landscapes and is often found in leis.

Plant Description


  •  Woody stem
  • Brown to gray in color
  • About 50 cm in height


  •  Appear white or silver because of the hairs


  •  Red orange in color


  •  Brown colored pods


  • Brown colored seeds


  • Bees observed in flowers

Propagation/ Cultivation:

  • Can be grown from cuttings
  • Be grown from manually moving seeds

Other Interesting Facts:

  • It is apart of the pea family 
  • Can be found as a shrub or a tree

Web Site Links

Hawai‘i Unique and Vanishing Flora

At this site you can find a picture and additional information on the 'Ohai shrub.

Hawaiian Native Plant Genera: Sesbania

At this site you will be able to find the location and pictures of the ‘Ohai shrub.

Hawaiian Native Plant Propagation Database

At this site you will be able to find information on the common name, type of family that it belongs to, traditional uses, description of the Shrub, it's habitat, geographic range, and propagation.


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

Hawaiian Native Plant Propagation Database: Sesbania Tomentosa. 16 Sept., 2001. College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources University of Hawai'i Manoa. 12 Mar. 2003<>

Krauss, Beatrice H. Plants in Hawaiian Culture. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1993.

 Merin, Mark David. Hawaiian Coastal Plants and Scenic Shorelines. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1978.

 Stone, Charles P., and Pratt, Linda W. Hawai‘i's Plants and Animals. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1993

Wagner, Warren L., Herbst, Derral R. and Sohmer, S. H. Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai'i. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, Bishop Museum Press, 1999.

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