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Photo Credit:

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Photo Credit: Forest


  • SYNONYMS Alyxia myrtillifolia Alyxia olivaeformis Alyxia oliviformis Alyxia sulcata Gynopogon olivaeformis Gynopogon stellatum
  • FAMILY Apocynaceae
  • PLANT TYPE Shrub Vine/Climber
  • WATER REQUIRMENTS Drought tolerant
  • SOIL REQUIRMENTS Tolerates many soil types
  • SUN EXPOSURE Full sun to Partial sun
  • DRAINAGE REQUIRED Requires good drainage
  • PROPAGATION METHODS Seeds & Vegetative

Alyxia stellata

The entire maile plant is fragrant, especially the leaves, which are commonly used in leis. They are one of the few plants grown commercially for leis, as they are prized at weddings, graduations, and retirements because they are considered to be a very prestigious lei. On Kauai, maile lei may be garnished with Mokihana, another native forest plant that adds additional honor to the recipient. Unfortunately, native forests are often illegally stripped of maile during graduation season due to high demand and there has been some effort in establishing lower elevation nurseries to serve the social need for maile lei. Early Hawaiians also used the plant for catching birds, storing with kapa for fragrance, games and sports, and medicinally. Maile was important to Laka, the goddess of hula, and was used at her altar. The species has had a recent name change to stellata. Propagation is easy by seeds and more difficult with cuttings; treated seeds sprout in 2-4 weeks and initial growth is slow, but increases after 1-2 months.

Plant Uses

  • Privacy-screening plant
  • Specimen
  • Cultural significance
  • Lei flower
  • Fragrant