Mokihana Berry

Hawaii Island Lei Material: Kaua'i

KauaiLeiMokihanaBerry.jpg

Mokihana Berries

Mokihana berries forming at Kanaio Natural Area Reserve, Maui; photo by Forest & Kim Starr (USGS)/ Plants of HawaiiRutaceae > Melicope sp. (melicope). Image use permitted with attribution.

Mokihana Berry

The mokihana berry is the official island lei material of Kaua'i. The mokihana is a native citrus tree (Rutaceae Melicope anisata). Other common names for mokihana berry: alani, alani kuahiwi, mokehana.

The leathery anise-scented fruit must be strung within a few hours of picking. Hawaiian women and men both wear the strung berries as leis and the anise-scented twigs and berries were once a favorite perfume (placed between the folds of tapa cloths).

Mokihana belongs to the genus Pelea, derived from the Hawaiian goddess of the volcano, (Melicope Pele). Native to Kaua'i Island of Hawa'i, the mokihana grows to a height of 6 to 25 feet in moist to wet forests at elevations from 1,200 to 4,000 feet.

Official Island Flowers or Lei Material

Each Hawaiian island designates an official flower or lei material - Hawai'i: red pua lehua ('ohi'a blossom); Maui: lokelani (pink Damask rose); O'ahu: pua 'ilima; Kaua'i: mokihana berry; Moloka'i - Pua Kukui (blossom of candlenut tree); Lana'i: kauna'oa (native dodder); Ni'ihau: pupu (tiny seashells); and Kaho'olawe: hinahina (native beach heliotrope).

Hawaii

Images

State of Hawaii, USA (public domain image).

State of Hawaii, USA

Mokihana berries and foliage on Wai`alalae Trail, Kaua`i Island, Hawaii; photo by Warren L. Wagner / Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (educational use permitted; image use policy).

Mokihana berries and foliage