Kanawao is a widely distributed species in the humid and mesic forests of all the major Hawaiian Islands. It’s an evergreen, dioeciousWhat is dioecious?Pertaining to plants, individuals of which bear either staminate or pistillate flowers, but not both. plant that grows as a 1.5 to a 3-meter shrub or a 6-meter-long tree.
The leaves are obovate and about 10 to 25 centimeters (3.9 to 9.8 inches) long and 4 to 9 centimeters (1.6 to 3.5 inches) broad with finely toothed edges.
The distinctive and beautiful shrubs of Kanawao grace Hawaii’s rainforests. The leaves of the weed are recognizable as those of a hydrangea.
However, they are slightly more leathery and larger than the foliage of their domesticated relatives. As with common hydrangea varieties, their blooms range from creamy yellow to blue, lavender, and magenta, but the resemblance ends there.
Instead of the flat, paper-like petals in flower shops worldwide, Hawaiian hydrangeas have star-shaped flower clusters that produce many long stamens.
Embedded in a rosette of leaves, the striking native flower resembles fireworks frozen in time. But, unlike its mainland relatives, Kanawao is dioecious and evergreen – it blooms throughout the year.