Naupaka kahakai

Naupaka kahakai

cover image of naupaka kahakai Names

  • ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi: Naupaka kahakai
  • Scientific: Scaevola taccada var. taccada

Conservation Status

  • NatureServe Heritage Rank G5 – Secure

Species Information

Naupaka kahakai is indigenous to Hawaii and part of the Goodeniaceae family found in coastal locations. It is also known by the synonym Scaevola sericea. Naupaka kahakai is a large bush reaching up to about 0.9 to 3 m (3 to 10 ft) tall and 1.8  to 4.5 m (6 to 15 ft) wide. The waxy green leaves grow form 5 cm to 20 cm (2 to 8 in) long and often roll under at the edges. The flowers are white or cream colored and are irregularly shaped with all five petals on one side of the flower, giving them the name “half-flower” (“Scaevola Sericea,” n.d.). It usually grows very close to the sea where it is exposed to sea spray, usually on sandy or pebbly soils (IUCN, n.d.). Traditionally, naupaka kahakai was used medicinally and in leis.


Naupaka kahakai is found on all Hawaiian islands except some of the Northwest islands (“Scaevola Sericea,” n.d.).


Naupaka kahakai is common in hot, dry coastal areas.


  • Damage from storm surges
  • Competition with alien invasive plants

References & Additional Resources

IUCN-Sri Lanka Country Office. An Assessment of Post Tsunami Restoration and Conservation Initiatives in Coastal Stretch of Matara – IUCN-Sri Lanka Country Office. IUCN.

“Scaevola Sericea.” Hawaiian Native Plant Propagation Database, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources: University of Hawaii at Manoa,