Scientific Name: Heliotropium anomalum var. argenteum
Indigenous: All HI
Description: A prostrate ground cover with one of the nicest smelling flower clusters of all the native Hawaiian plants. Each flower cluster is comprised of up to 15 small white flowers that protrude up above a tight, silvery rosette of leaves.
Distribution: This indigenous plant is found throughout the Pacific, in Hawaii it is found on the shoreline of all the main islands. (see additional info. below) where they may have occurred in the past. It thrives in the harsh environment along the coast nearest the ocean where there is usually intense sunlight, strong winds, and very little water in both rocky and sandy terrains.
Landscape Use and Care: This plant will live and look best if planted in an area that most closely resembles its natural habitat, in other words, as much sun as you can give it, be planted in well drained soil, and not have too much water, don’t be afraid of planting it in a high wind area, it can handle trust me. If given too much water, shade or both the plant will grow too fast, become leggy, be greener and not look so silvery, plus the rosette of leaves will not be tight but loose and not look good. In addition, the quick, soft growth of the plant will make it more susceptible to pests like aphids, mealy bugs or scales. If you notice these pests on your plant you can treat it by either shooting it off with water or by spraying it with a pesticide designed for those specific bugs. When planted in the right location this plant is one of the most stunning groundcovers around. It looks especially nice planted around larger landscaping stones and when they’re in bloom, wow! For a limited time this plant is available at all the Home Depots for only $5.96
Cultural Uses: The flowers and leaf rosettes are highly prized and valued for lei making. It would be nice to have this plant in your own yard that way all your lei making material is there for your use and you wouldn’t have to go out and potentially diminish what few plants remain in the wild.
The leaves and flowers can also be steeped in boiling water to make a nice tasting, mild tea.
Additional Info: One of my references says that this plant is no longer found on the island of Kaho’olawe which is strange because hinahina is the island plant of Kaho’olawe just like how ‘ilima is for O’ahu and Lokelani (which is not native by the way) is to Maui. Don’t confuse this hinahina plant with the introduced air plant called Spanish moss often called hinahina or Pele’s hair, there is absolutely no relation whatsoever and they only share the name because they are both silvery-gray (hinahina in Hawaiian) in color.Hinahina