`Ākia

Wikstroemia uva-ursi & Wikstroemia spp. [Thymelaeaceae ]
Hawaii Natives

There are twelve native species of 'ākia in Hawaii, many endemic to just one island, and at least one believed to be extinct. By far the most commonly seen species is Wikstroemia uva-ursi, a low-growing shrub three to five feet in height, which has become widely cultivated both in private gardens and public plantings. It's valued for its attractive appearance, drought tolerance and of course for its endemic status, since it is found naturally in Hawaii and nowhere else in the world.

'Ākia species are reputed to be poisonous, though toxicity seems to vary. Nevertheless, do not confuse it with the superficially similar `ōhelo.

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