(Euphorbia skottsbergii var. kalaeloana)
Description: This endangered shrub with small oval leaves, tiny flowers and fruits grows about four feet tall. It is only found wild in Kalaeloa, O‘ahu.
Best Growing Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; water once a
week until established and then only during drought. During
periods of drought, this ‘akoko will drop all its leaves to reduce water loss.
Interesting Facts: When ripe, the small ‘akoko fruits bend upright
and explode to disperse tiny seeds.The milky sap of some ‘akoko (there are about 15 endemic species in Hawai‘i) was used by Hawaiians to increase the amount of breast milk produced by new mothers (Chun 1994). Damaged ‘akoko leaves turn red and, thus, appear to bleed.
More information about the ‘Ewa Plains ‘akoko can be found at: www.nativehawaiiangarden.org
Text & photograph by Bruce P Koebele