Wikstroemia uva-ursi var. uva-ursi (Molokai Osmanthus)

  • TropPlant Accession Number (TPAN): 0125
  • Botanical Name: Wikstroemia uva-ursa
  • Common Name: Molokai Osmanthus, 'Akia (Hawaiian)
  • Variety: uva-ursi
  • Family: Thymelaeaceae
Wikstoemia uva-ursa
Photo by Matthew Gaston

  • Native To: Hawaiian Islands of Moloka'i, O'ahu, and Maui

Landscaping Information

    • Plant Type: Shrub, Groundcover
    • Texture: Fine, Dense
    • Form: Mound to Dome 
    • Height (on average, in landscape use): 1.5' - 2.5'. Maximum height is about 3'
    • Height to Spread: More horizontal spreading growth than vertical growth. 
    • Growth Rate: Medium
    • Landscape Values: Border, Edging, Filler, Foundation, Framing, Groundcover, Low Hedge, Lanai, Mass, Patio, Erosion Control
    • Outstanding Quality: Form/Silhouette, Foliage Characters, Fruit
    Wikstoemia uva-ursa trimmed into a hedge at UH Manoa East-West Center
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    Botanical Descriptions

    • Flowers: small, unisexual, yellow flowers with 4 petals. Arranged in small clusters. Flowers year long.
    Wikstoemia uva-ursa flowers
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    • Fruits: 0.5'-0.75' spherical to ellipsoidal fleshy (indehiscent) drupe (containing a single seed); unripe green fruits ripen to a vivid orange or red. Fruits used for lei.
    Wikstoemia uva-ursa fruit
    Photo by Matthew Gaston
    • Foliage Color:  Young/immature: Yellow Green. Mature: Blue Green
    • Foliage Tip: Rounded to Obtuse
    • Foliage Base: Rounded to Obtuse
    • Petiole: 0.1'
    • Stipules: N/A 
    • Margins: Smooth
    • Leaf Arrangement: Opposite Decussate (4-ranked)
    • Leaf Shape: elliptic to orbiculate
    • Leaf Type: Simple
    • Leaf Texture: Thick and Waxy
    • Leaf Special Notes: Small, round shaped, blue-green leaves grow tightly when grown in full sun. This makes this plant a popular choice as a native Hawaiian plant for bonsai.
    Wikstoemia uva-ursa adaxial leaf surface
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    Wikstoemia uva-ursa abaxial leaf surface
    Photo by Matthew Gaston
    Wikstoemia uva-ursa leaves
    Photo by Matthew Gaston



    • Bark and Trunk: brownish red to gray bark.

    Horticultural Information

      • Light Preference: Full Sun
      • Light Tolerances: Semi-Sun (but will grow leggy with long internodes)
      • Soil Preferences: Dry (Mesic), Dry (Xeric), Well-Drained.
      • Tolerances: Salt Air, Saline Soil, Strong Winds, Moderate Winds, Drought.
      • Water Requirements: prefers well draining, drier soil. .
      • Notes on Maintenance: Grows best in a dry, full sun.location where it can spread as a groundcover.Not known to have many pests. Grows well in a container, especially popular on a sunny lanai.
      • Propagation: Seed, Air Layer. Cutting also works, but requires much more work than most and even at that has a low success rate (50%)
      • Minimum USDA Hardiness Zone: 11a
      • Weed Risk Assessment Score (WRA): Endemic to Hawaii.
      Additional Reference: https://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/hawnprop/plants/wik-uvau.htm

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