cover image of maile


  • ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi: Maile
  • Scientific: Alyxia stellata

Conservation Status

  • NatureServe Heritage Rank G3 – Vulnerable

Species Information

Maile is a fragrant native vine endemic to all of Hawai’i except Kaho’olawe and Ni’ihau. Maile is a member of the family Apocynaceae and genus Alyxia. Although maile is a vine, it often appears more shrub-like. The leaves vary in size, shape, and color ranging from dark to fairly light green. The very small flowers, 7 to 12 cm (3 to 5 in), range from light green to creamy yellow. Once these flowers are pollinated, they form green, glossy fruits that turn dark purple to black when ripe (Garrett, 2013). Maile are one of the few plants grown commercially for lei. In addition to lei making, early Hawaiians used the plant to catch birds, medicinally, and to store with kapa for fragrance, games, and sports (“Alyxia Stellata (Maile,” 2021).


Koa is found on all the main Hawaiian islands except Kaho’olawe and Ni’ihau. Today the greatest concentrations of koa are found at elevations between 915 and 1830 m (3,000 and 6,000 ft) (Baker et al., 2009).


Maile is fairly common in dry to mesic forests on all main islands except Kaho’olawe and Ni’ihau.


  • Predation from invasive rodents and gamebirds (Whitehead, 2015)

Plans & Projects

Pahole Natural Area Reserve 2017 Management Plan


References & Additional Resources

“Alyxia Stellata (Maile).” Plant Pono, 3 Sept. 2021,

Garrett. “Maile.” Hui Ku Maoli Ola, 23 Oct. 2013,

Whitehead, Amber Namaka. “Kū Ka Maile; Ethnobotany, Harvest Effects, and Recruitment of Maile (Alyxia Stellata), a Hawaiian Climbing Vine.” University of Hawaii, ScholarSpace, 2015.