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Abutilon incanum

leaf Main Plant Information

Genus

Abutilon

Species

incanum

Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • ʻIlima pua kea
  • Koʻoloa kea
  • Maʻo

Hawaiian Names

  • Ilima pua kea
  • Kooloa kea
  • Mao

Common Names

  • Hoary abutilon

Synonyms

  • Sida incana

leaf Plant Characteristics

Endangered Species Status

No Status

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Sprawling Shrub
  • Shrub

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Shrub, Small, 2 to 6
  • Shrub, Medium, 6 to 10

Mature Size, Width

6 to 8 feet.

Life Span

Long lived (Greater than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Accent

Additional Landscape Use Information

A rarely used small shrub that has great potential as an accent plant and may be used in the landscape like ʻilima (Sida fallax). The shrubs can be used in xeric locations and may be salt tolerant since it is naturally found within a stone's throw from the ocean. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Plant Produces Flowers

Yes

leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type

Not Showy

Flower Colors

  • Pink
  • Purple
  • Red
  • White

Additional Flower Color Information

The beautiful five-petaled flowers are tiny compared with the leaves. Like many other Abutilon species the flowers are often hidden by the leaves.

Though only pink flowered forms are known in Hawaii, colors can also be white, yellow, orange-yellow to orange in other parts of its natural range. The flower centers of Hawaiian flowers are reddish or wine-colored.

Note: The "Flower Colors" range above is only for the Hawaiian plants.

Blooming Period

  • Year Round
  • Sporadic

Additional Blooming Period and Fruiting Information

In Hawaii, the blooming period can be sporadic or year round. On the continental USA, they flower from March to October.

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Medium
  • Coarse

Additional Plant Texture Information

In culture, if over watered and/or fertilized with high nitrogen, the leaves can become flaccid (sagging) and over whelm the already small flowers. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Leaf Colors

  • Light Green
  • Medium Green

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

Aphids seem to target new leaves. Whitefies and red spider mites may be problematic on mature leaves. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

leaf Growth Requirements

Water Requirements

  • Dry

Additional Water Information

More water seems to produce larger leaves, but hide the tiny flowers.

Soil must be well drained

Yes

Light Conditions

  • Full sun
  • Partial sun

Additional Lighting Information

Though they prefer full sun, they can be naturally found in partial sun under kiawe (Prosopis sp.), pluchea and other alien shrubs and trees. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Tolerances

  • Drought
  • Wind

Soils

  • Sand
  • Cinder
  • Organic
  • Coral

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Niʻihau
  • Kauaʻi
  • Oʻahu
  • Molokaʻi
  • Lānaʻi
  • Maui
  • Kahoʻolawe

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • Less than 150, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 150 to 1000, 0 to 50 (Dry)

Additional Habitat Information

Native to the Sonara Desert (s.w. Arizona, Baja, and Sinaloa in n. Mexico), Colorado, New Mexico, Texas (Edwards Plateau to w. Texas), [2] and in Hawaii. In Hawaii it is questionably indigenous and found mainly on leeward sides in shrublands, grasslands, and dry forests on all the main islands except Hawaiʻi Island, from sea level to about 720 feet.

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

Maʻo are smaller relatives of hibiscuses belonging to the Mallow family (Malvaceae). The Hawaiian Islands have four native Abutilon species: the featured indigenous species (Abutilon incanum) and three endemic endangered species (A. eremitopetalum, A. menziesii, A. sandwicense).

Other Hawaiian names ʻilima pua kea (the ʻilima with white flowers) [1] and koʻoloa kea [5] have also been used for this plant. Outside of Hawaii, this species is known as hoary abutilon, pelotazo, pelotazo chico, and tronadora.

Early Hawaiian Use

Dried flowers and root bark were pounded together with other plants, and liquid was heated and used for stomachaches [3,4]

A green dye was made from the leaves. [6]

Modern Use

This abutilon can be used in dry flower arrangements. [2] There may have use for lei since the flowers seem to last a few days after picked. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Additional References

[1] "A Chronicle and Flora of Niihau" by Juliet Rice Wichman and Harold St. John, page 109.

[2] University of Texas at Austin Native Plant Database http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=ABIN [Accessed June 16, 2010]

[3] "Native American Ethnobotany" by Daniel E. Moerman, page 37.

[4] "Hawaiian Herbs of Medicinal Value," by D.M. Kaaiakamanu & J.K. Akina, page 69.

[5] "Hoʻōla Hou I Ke Kino Kanaloa," by Social Science Research Institute.

[6] "Arts and Crafts of Hawaii" by Te Rangi Hiroa (Sir Peter H. Buck), page 187.

Special Notes and Information

Maʻo are smaller relatives of hibiscuses belonging to the Mallow family (Malvaceae). The Hawaiian Islands have four native Abutilon species: the featured indigenous species (Abutilon incanum) and three endemic endangered species (A. eremitopetalum, A. menziesii, A. sandwicense).

Other Hawaiian names ʻilima pua kea (the ʻilima with white flowers) [1] and koʻoloa kea [5] have also been used for this plant. Outside of Hawaii, this species is known as hoary abutilon, pelotazo, pelotazo chico, and tronadora.

Early Hawaiian Use:

Dried flowers and root bark were pounded together with other plants, and liquid was heated and used for stomachaches [3,4]

A green dye was made from the leaves. [6]

Modern Use:

This abutilon can be used in dry flower arrangements. [2] There may have use for lei since the flowers seem to last a few days after picked. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Lanscape Use:

A rarely used small shrub that has great potential as an accent plant and may be used in the landscape like ʻilima (Sida fallax). The shrubs can be used in xeric locations and may be salt tolerant since it is naturally found within a stone's throw from the ocean. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

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