Description: A very rare group of plants, comprised of four species within the endemic genus Nothocestrum. The wood of this plant is generally soft with a light brown to grayish-white bark. Most of the leaves tend to gather towards the tip of the branches but very few at that. The most impressive feature of this group of plants is their flowers. Easily one of the most pleasantly fragrant flowers native to Hawaii, it is only rivaled against by a handful of others. Once pollinated, the flowers develop into small orange-red fruit about an inch long filled with numerous little seeds.
Distribution: As stated before all Aiea are extremely rare, this one in particular is listed as endangered and is only found in the dry forests from Ka’u to Waimea on the island of Hawai’i.
Cultural Uses: If available the flowers make the most beautiful smelling lei.
Landscape Uses and Care: Honestly, there is little known about the use of this plant in the landscape being that it is so rare. But given its natural habitat it would do best in full sun with well drained soil, paying close attention to not over water it. The rarity and of course unbelievable smell of the flowers make it a plant to cherish if ever made available to own.
Extra Info: The area known as Aiea is named after this rare plant. Try going there today to find its namesake tree… I wouldn’t hold my breath doing so.Aiea