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Nototrichium sandwicense
Alternative Botanical Names
Nototrichium fulvum
Nototrichium viride
Psilotrichum sandwicense
Psilotrichum viride
Ptilotus sandwicense
Ptilotus sandwicensis

Common Names
Potential or Traditional Uses
Lei (Flower or Seed)
Photo of Nototrichium sandwicense
Nototrichium sandwicense can be a shrub or a small tree, but it is usually branched from the base rather than having a single trunk. It can reach heights of 12 to 20 feet, but is generally around 6 feet tall. The light gray trunk is mottled in a diamond pattern. The fuzzy, silvery leaves are variable in size and shape. They are usually oval and range from 1 to 4 inches long and are half as wide. The twigs are also covered with silvery or pale brown hairs. The insignificant flowers occur in stout woolly spikes. (Koob 1998; NTBG 1992; Wagner 1990)
Habitat and Geographic Range
Nototrichium sandwicense is a Hawaiian endemic plant found on all the main Hawaiian islands at elevations below 2,400 feet. It grows in open dry forests, exposed ridges, and lava fields. (Wagner 1990)
Propagation by Seeds
The fruit of Nototrichium sandwicense are very small, about 1/16 inch in diameter and reddish. Nototrichium sandwicense is easily propagated from seeds, but it takes longer than propagating from cuttings. Sow the seeds on the surface of a mix of 1 part perlite to 1 part potting mix and water every other day. The NTBG publication (1992) states that seeds germinate in about three months. On the other hand, Lilleeng-Rosenberger's notes indicate that for one batch of fresh seed with no pretreatment 33% of the seed germinated within 1 week. (Lilleeng-Rosenberger 1996; NTBG 1992; Wagner 1990)
Propagation by Cuttings
Nototrichium sandwicense grows well from cuttings. Use softwood cuttings and plant them immediately after collection. Cut off most of the upper leaves or cut them in half to reduce transpiration. Rooting hormone is not necessary, but will shorten rooting time.

Use a well-drained rooting medium such as clean sand, perlite, or vermiculite. NTBG suggests a mix of 3 parts perlite to 1 part vermiculite or potting soil. A humidity chamber or mist bed will speed up rooting, but is not necessary. Boche reports 50% success with stem cuttings grown in 50% shade using a medium of 3 parts cinder to 1 part perlite. Place the cuttings in the shade and water regularly. Rooting will take place in "several weeks" according to NTBG. (Boche 1992; Bornhorst 1996; Koob 1998; NTBG 1992)

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.
Boche, Kenneth. 1992. Unpublished paper on propagation of selected native Hawaiian and Polynesian introduced plants: Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawaii at Hilo.

Bornhorst, Heidi L. 1996. Growing native Hawaiian plants: a how-to guide for the gardener. Honolulu: The Bess Press. p. 41-42.

National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG). 1992. Kulu'i. In Native Hawaiian plant information sheets. Lawai, Kauai: Hawaii Plant Conservation Center. National Tropical Botanical Garden. Unpublished internal papers.

Koob, Gregory A. 1998. Kulu'i. Hawai'i Horticulture 1 (1):18-19.

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

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. 194.

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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:
2 September 2001

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