Common Name
'Öhi'a Lehua, 'Öhi'a, or lehua

Hawaiian Name
'Öhi'a Lehua

Scientific Name
Metrosideros polymorpha



Whole Plant




Main Stem

Location On Campus

 The location of the 'Öhi'a lehua is near Kalama Dining Hall in the native garden.

Natural Habitat

It grows on Haleakalä slopes. It also grows in Maui's native forests. The plant is found on all the Hawaiian islands except Kaho‘olawe and Ni‘ihau. It is also found near sea level and high elevations.

Cultural Information

 The 'Öhi'a lehua is endemic to Hawaii. The Hawaiians noticed this attractive plant and that the 'I'iwi and the Mamo birds with red and yellow feathers drank the nectar of the plant. The bird catchers would put sap on its branches and catch the bird for it's feathers to make a cloak for the chiefs. The young leaves were sometimes used as medicines. The strong bark were sometimes used as kapa beaters and spears as well. It's flowers were used for arrangements or leis. It was believed that if you picked the flower of the 'Öhi'a lehua tree it would rain.

Plant Description


  • Aerial roots
  • Come out of its branches


  • Main stems is hard like oak
  • Sometimes dark red but most times brown
  • Main stem is woody
  • Leaf stem is herbaceous


  • Young leaves are more reddish than the older ones
  • Older leaves are more slivery green and dull
  • Entire margin
  • Compound leaf
  • Pinnate venation


  • Seeds are small and brown
  • About a millimeter small


  • Salmon pink, yellow, red, and white in color
  • Numerous bright red stamens


  • Endemic Hawaiian birds like the Mamo and I‘iwi


  • Good if it is grown into the ground before it is put in a pot
  • Seeds grow fast and it needs a moderate amount of water

Other Interesting Facts:

  • Can grow up to 33 meters tall
  • Believed that the blossom is sacred to Pele and that is why it is the first plant to come up after a lava flow

Web Site Links

How to Plant a Native Hawaiian Garden

This site will show and tell about the ‘öhi‘a lehua and what it looks like. There will be a picture of this plant as you enter the site. It will also tell you about what islands it is found on and where on that island.

Hawaiian Native Plants

This site shows where it is found and on which islands. It will also show you a picture of the 'Öhi'a Lehua. You can also learn about other native plants of Hawai‘i.

Metrosideros polymorpha Guad

This site will show where on the Hawaiian Islands the ‘Öhi‘a lehua is found and how much of the island is covered with this plant.


Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Conservation. Clinton Morse, Web Manager. 14 March 2003<>.

 Grierson, Mary and Green, Peter. A Hawaiian Forilegum. University of Hawaii Press: Honolulu, Hawai'i, 1996.

 How to Plant a Native Hawaiian Garden. 14 March, 2003. State of Hawai'i Office of Environment, 1998 <>

Krauss, Beatrice. Plants in Hawaiian Medicine. The Best Press Inc: Honolulu, Hawai'i, 2001.

 Neal, Marie. In the Gardens of Hawai'i. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1965.

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