‘Ākia (False Ohelo) - Maui Ocean Center
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‘Ākia (False Ohelo)


Common name: none

Scientific name: Wikstroemia uva-ursi

Where to Find: 10 – 1400 feet.  Dry open habitats, ‘a‘a lava, ledges, open hillsides and shorelines. 

Status: Endemic

‘Ākia is a sprawling / crawling shrub that grows up to five feet tall.  Normally, it gets to three feet tall and ten feet in diameter.  The leaves are an oval to round shape and grow in pairs on either side of the stem.  

Small yellow flowers bloom spontaneously throughout the year, but are less prominent when the plant has mature fruits.  These fruits come in colors such as green, yellow, orange, and red depending on what stage of life they are in.  The berries can be strung single file to create a simple lei.

The bark of the ‘Ākia can be stripped and used as a very strong cordage. It can also be used medicinally to cleanse the system or treat asthma symptoms. 

Did You Know?
‘Ākia was used in a form of tide pool fishing called ‘hola.’ It was crushed and dispersed in the water to sedate the fish in order to gather them by hand.