This beautifully red flowered shrub in the Mallow family (Malvaceae) can grow to be about 6-10’ and about as wide. Well-used in the xeric (drought resistant) landscape, ko‘oloa‘ula was one of the first endangered species to be incorporated into urban landscapes! Its silvery leaves and year-round blooming period make it the perfect landscape plant. Very few individuals exist in the wild, and was even described as being rare by botanists visiting Hawai‘i in the 1800s.
Seeds mature inside a pale yellow to brown capsule containing approximately 18-24 small dark brown seeds. The seeds typically are wind dispersed, shaking out of the opened capsule, but capsules can be opened by hand or with a knife for collection purposes.
The deep red to maroon flowers are known to make exquisite leis, and although the “ula” in the name refers to the typical red flowers, pink, yellow, and cream colored flowers have also been observed.