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Cuscuta sandwichiana
Alternative Botanical Names
Grammica sandwichiana
Common Names
Kauna'oa kahakai
Kauna'oa lei
Potential or Traditional Uses
Lei (Flower or Seed)
Photo of Cuscuta sandwichiana
Cuscuta sandwichiana is a parasitic twining vine. The thin, leafless stems are yellow to yellow-orange. The 1/16 inch yellowish flowers grow in small clusters long the stems. (Bornhorst 1996; Wagner 1990)
Habitat and Geographic Range
Cuscuta sandwichiana is an endemic plant. It grows in coastal areas with sandy soils at elevations ranging from sea level to 975 feet. It parasitizes a variety of other indigenous and endemic plants on all of the main Hawaiian islands except Kaua'i and Kaho'olawe. (Wagner 1990)
Propagation by Seeds
The seed capsules of Cuscuta sandwichiana are 1/16 inch in diameter and round. The tiny seeds are dark reddish brown. The seeds can be smeared onto the stems of a host plant (preferably a relatively undesirable one). They will often germinate and parasitize the host plant. (Bornhorst 1996; Wagner 1990)
Propagation by Cuttings
Cuscuta sandwichiana can also be grown by wrapping cuttings around host plants such as weeds or other unwanted plants. (Bornhorst 1996)
Propagation by Division
Not applicable.
Propagation by Air Layers
Not applicable.
Propagation by Grafting
Not applicable.
Propagation by Tissue Culture
No information located to date.
Bornhorst, Heidi L. 1996. Growing native Hawaiian plants: a how-to guide for the gardener. Honolulu: The Bess Press. p. 49-50.

Wagner, Warren L., Darrel R. Herbst, and S. H. Sohmer. 1990. Manual of the flowering plants of Hawai'i. 2 vols., Bishop Museum Special Publication 83. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press and Bishop Museum Press. p. 582-583.

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The image in this record is used with permission from Dr. Gerald Carr's Web site "Hawaiian Native Plants" at

Last updated:
16 February 2002

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