image description

Photo Credit: Hope Smith

image description

Photo Credit: Forest & Kim Starr

image description

Photo Credit: Forest & Kim Starr

QUICK FACTS

  • HPRWA SCORE
  • SYNONYMS Capparis spinosa var. mariana
  • ELEVATION RANGE Low
  • FAMILY Capparaceae
  • PLANT TYPE Ground cover|Shrub
  • WATER REQUIRMENTS Drought tolerant
  • SOIL REQUIRMENTS
  • SUN EXPOSURE Full Sun
  • SALT TOLERANCE Highly salt tolerant
  • DRAINAGE REQUIRED Requires good drainage
  • PROPAGATION METHODS Seeds & Vegetative

Capparis sandwichiana
(maiapilo, pua pilo, polo, Hawaiian caper)

Maiapilo is a wonderful coastal plant with large, fragrant flowers. It does not tolerate over-watering. It makes a great groundcover or shrub on hot dry coasts and lava fields. It has a sprawling habit and the gorgeous white flowers open in the evening and fade from white to pink in the course of the day. Flowers are followed by fruit that resemble small dill pickles in size and shape, and fruit contains small black seeds that will germinate. While it can be a bit fussy in cultivation, the effort is well rewarded by the flowers! This plant will grow well in challenging, dry coastal areas. Hawaiians used the plant medicinally to treat muscle conditions. Although related to the Mediterranean caper, there is no modern use for the Hawaiian caper in cuisine.

Plant Uses

  • Specimen
  • Container plant
  • Ornamental
  • Medicinal
  • Cultural significance
  • Fragrant

Dangers

None