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Pipturus albidus
Alternative Botanical Names
Boehmeria albida
Periarius albidus
Pipturus brighamii
Pipturus eriocarpus
Pipturus gaudichaudianus
Pipturus hawaiiensis
Pipturus helleri
Pipturus oahuensis
Pipturus pachyphyllus
Pipturus pterocarpus
Pipturus rockii
Pipturus skottsbergii
Pipturus taitensis

Common Names
Potential or Traditional Uses
Photo of Pipturus albidus
Pipturus albidus is a highly variable plant which has in the past been divided into as many as 10 species. It can be a shrub or a small tree and ranges in height from 6 to 20 feet tall. It has stout branches with gray-brown to red-brown bark. The leaves are dark-green on the top and white to gray underneath, often with reddish veins. The texture can vary from papery to leathery. The leaves range in shape from oval to oblong to diamond- or heart-shaped and they have saw toothed edges. Leaves on mature growth are 3 to 8 inches long and 1 1/2 to 6 inches wide, but leaves forming on young growth can be much larger.

The small flowers form in small clusters up to 3/8 inch in diameter and occur close to the stem in the leaf axils. The flowers are unisexual most often with male and female flowers on the same plant. Occasionally, male and female flowers occur on separate plants. (Koob 1999; Wagner 1990)

Habitat and Geographic Range
Pipturus albidus is a Hawaiian endemic plant occurring on all the main Hawaiian islands except Ni'ihau and Kaho'olawe. It grows in moist to wet forests at elevations ranging from almost sea level to 6,000 feet. (Wagner 1990)
Propagation by Seeds
The very tiny seeds of Pipturus albidus form in a small white fruit. The seeds are oval and pale brown, pale gray or yellow brown.

The seeds need to be removed from the fruit pulp before planting. Lilleeng-Rosenberger suggests ripening the fruit in a plastic bag to soften the pulp. After this, the seeds can be removed from the pulp more easily. This can be done by rubbing the fruits in a strainer under running water, or by manually crushing the fruits in a bowl of water to separate the seeds from the pulp. The viable seeds will sink and the fruit pulp and other debris can be poured off. Rinse the seeds a few times and pour a mixture of water and seeds on the surface of moist, fine textured, well-compacted medium. Cleaned seeds can also be dried on a paper towel for storing.

Keep the containers in a partially shady location and keep the medium moist. The seeds will begin to germinate in 2 to 3 weeks. Two year old plants will produce fruit. (Bornhorst 1996; Hamasaki 1999; Koob 1999; Lilleeng-Rosenberger 1998; Wagner 1990)

Propagation by Cuttings
Bornhorst writes that Pipturus albidus can be easily grown from 4 to 6 inch long cuttings. However, Koob states that it is difficult to propagate from cuttings. (Bornhorst 1996; Hamasaki 1999)
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.
Bornhorst, Heidi L. 1996. Growing native Hawaiian plants: a how-to guide for the gardener. Honolulu: The Bess Press. p. 45-46.

Hamasaki, Randall T. 1999. "Mamaki Information [from Dr. Gregory Koob]." [E-mail] [Posted 24 March 1999 to:]

Koob, Gregory A. 1999. Mamaki. Hawai'i Horticulture 2(11):13-14.

Lilleeng-Rosenberger, Kerin. 1998. Propagation techniques for native Hawaiian plants. Newsletter of the Hawaiian Botanical Society 37 (2):33-35.

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. 1308-1309.

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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:
11 March 2000

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