Hiding in plain sight, ‘uhaloa can be easily found growing along leeward coastal roadsides. Partially woody, and shrub-like, ‘uhaloa readily grows in disturbed areas and is often one of the first species to re-inhabit a freshly cleared restoration area. Typically growing from sea level to around 4000ft elevation, we’ve seen some populations much higher at around 6000ft. A member of the Malvaceae (hibiscus) family, this species has light green fuzzy leaves and a tiny yellow flower. The small hairs on the leaves can be found all over the entire plant and can sometimes give it a silver/ gray appearance. Flowers occur in dense clusters from the leaf axils and the fruit are small capsules containing one seed each.
‘Uhaloa will grow readily once established, but take note- it can become quite weedy in the landscape!
Perhaps the most important aspect of ‘uhaloa, is its use in la’au lapa’au, or traditional Hawaiian medicine. The plant is used in conjunction with other plants to treat a variety of illnesses/ symptoms, including sore throat, asthma, bronchial infections, arthritis, neuralgia, common cold, diarrhea, and fatigue.