cover image of hau


  • ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi: Hau
  • Scientific: Hibiscus tilaceus

Conservation Status

  • NatureServe Heritage Rank G5 – Secure

Species Information

Hau is recognizable by its large and bight yellow flowers containing a dark red “eye spot” inside. It is a part of the Malvaceae family. Hau grows to heights of 4 to 10 m (13 to 33 ft) with a trunk up to 15 cm (5.9 in) in diameter (Little and Roger, 1989). Early Hawaiians used the wood of this species to build the outriggers of canoes, floats for fish nets, long spears for games, and for the cross sticks of kites. The fibrous inner bark of the Hau was also used to create ropes, matts, and bark cloth.


This species is commonly found in the lowlands, especially on the shores, of the Hawaiian islands where it can form dense thickets.


Lowland streams, at stream-mouths, and shorelines.


  • Development of coastlines and waterways
  • Damage to shorelines during storm surges

Plans & Projects

KAHANA STREAM RESTORATION PROJECT Ahupu‘a ‘O Kahana State Park, Kahana, O‘ahu

References & Additional Resources

Little Jr., Elbert L.; Roger G. Skolmen (1989). “Hau, sea hibiscus.” Common Forest Trees of Hawaii (Native and Introduced). United States Forest Service.