What is naupaka

What is naupaka

What is naupaka? Naupaka is a bush like plant that exists everywhere in the Hawai`ian island chain. Once you are educated on what to look for, you soon realize that you are surrounded by this healthy and ever so abundant plant. This plant has so many good uses and the basic and yet most valuable benefit of all that the naupaka plant has to offer, is beach protection against the relentless and brutal attacks the ocean throws at our coast on a daily basis. It is one of the few plants around that can grow in the harsh, sandy and salty beaches that our island shores have to offer. Thus creating an awesome and natural barrier to protect Hawaii from volatile erosion.

"What is naupaka"

Naupaka and its half flower

If you are still wondering What is naupaka , below is a little more of a specific, or rather scientific look at the naupaka plant.

As quoted from “Hawaii Gardening” magazine:

“The seeds of this indigenous native most likely floated to Hawai`i centuries ago. Experiments have shown that naupaka seeds will sprout even after soaked in saltwater for 250 days. This succulent is possibly the easiest native plant to grow, and it’s a cinch to propagate it from seeds or cuttings. Naupaka kahakai withstands salt spray and sandy soil, and it has few diseases and pests.


On top of that, it’s very low maintenance as far as yard work is concerned.

Both flowers and fruits are used today in the making of beautiful, customary Hawaiian lei’s.

Once established, the need to water the plant is minimal.

"Naupaka by the sea"

sun shining on Naupaka by the sea

Blooming Period is Year Round.

Local divers or spear fisherman know to use the flowers, fruit or leaves to rub inside their diving mask. They do this with a mixture of their saliva (hāʻae, spit) to prevent fogging.

Did you know the trivia about the plants name, naupaka?

The generic name Scaevola is derived from the Greek scaevus, meaning, left-handed or awkward. This more than likely is in reference to the “awkward” appearance of the “half flower” or to the naupaka’s signature flowers resembling an open fan or hand.


Mixed with salt, the fruit or root bark of naupaka kahakai was used for the healing of cuts, skin diseases and wounds.

Here are some tips on growing naupaka, just click on the link below:

tips on growing naupaka

"What is naupaka"

Naupaka at sunset beach watching the sun set

How dare I? I almost forget to mention the mountain naupaka. This plant is actually even more interesting then its low lying coastal cousin. This unusual mountain flower is not only indigenous to the islands of O`ahu and Kaua`i but it is also endemic. This means that the mountain naupaka is found nowhere else in the world, but only on those two islands.

This is where the legend of the naupaka orginated:
One legend talks about two lovers who were prevented by their parents from getting married. They were turned into flowers that appeared to be cut in half. The women became the Naupaka Kahakai and the man became Naupaka Kuahiwi or the mountain naupaka. The half shaped flowers symbolize the love for each other and their eternal separation.”




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What is naupaka

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