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Melicope anisata
Alternative Botanical Names
Evodia anisata
Pelea anisata
Pelea hillebrandii
Pelea nodosa
Pelea subpeltata

Common Names
Potential or Traditional Uses
Lei (Flower or Seed)
No photo currently available
Melicope anisata is shrub or multi-trunked small tree ranging in height from 6 to 25 feet. The bark is smooth and gray-green with a red cambium layer. The twigs are smooth and light brown. The branches are pliant and droopy giving the plant a somewhat vine-like growth habit.

The thin, leathery leaves give off a strong anise fragrance when crushed. The leaves are oval shaped and usually range in size from 4 to 8 inches long. and about half as wide. The leaves are bright green and the brownish or reddish leaf veins are conspicuous.

Groups of 1 to 3 flowers form at the bases of the leaves. (Lamb 1981; Wagner 1990)

Habitat and Geographic Range
Melicope anisata is the flower of Kaua'i and is native only to that island. It grows in moist to wet forests at elevations ranging from 1,200 to 4,000 feet. (Lamb 1981; Wagner 1990)
Propagation by Seeds
The fruit of Melicope anisata is a squarish, yellow-green capsule about 1/2 inch long. The capsule has a strong anise fragrance. There are 4 compartments in the capsule and each will have 1 or 2 glossy black seeds about 1/8 inch long.

Lilleeng-Rosenberger used a 6 day cold water soak as a seed pretreatment. These seeds took 6 months to germinate.

In his germination studies, Obata found that untreated seeds of Melicope anisata had germination rates ranging from 30 to 75%. (Lilleeng-Rosenberger 1996; Obata 1967; Wagner 1990)

Propagation by Cuttings
No information located to date.
Propagation by Division
Not applicable.
Propagation by Air Layers
No information located to date.
Propagation by Grafting
No information located to date.
Propagation by Tissue Culture
No information located to date.
Lamb, Samuel H. 1981. Native trees and shrubs of the Hawaiian Islands. Santa Fe, New Mexico: Sunstone Press. p. 58-59.

Lilleeng-Rosenberger, Kerin. 1996. Plant propagation notebook. Unpublished materials: National Tropical Botanical Garden.

Obata, John K. 1967. Seed germination in native Hawaiian plants. Newsletter of the Hawaiian Botanical Society 6 (3):13-20.

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. 1183, 1705,

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Last updated:
16 September 2001

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