Scientific Name: Coprosma ernodeoides
Common Names: 'Aiakanene, Kukaenene, Punene, Black-fruited Coprosma, Nene Berry, Nene Bush
Growth Habit: Shrub
Hawaii Native Status: Native (endemic)
Flower Color: Whitish green to yellowish green
Height: Up to only 8 inches (20 cm) tall, but trailing up to 10 feet (3 m) long
Description: These plants are dioecious. The male and female flowers are tubular with 4, curling, pointed lobes. The male flowers have 4 stamens, while the female flowers have a long, fuzzy, white, two-branched pistil. The female flowers are followed by up to 1/2 inch (13 mm) wide, shiny black berries. The leaves densely line the branches and are small, stiff, opposite, narrow, and bright green in color. Most of the branches are prostrate, but a few of the shorter branches are upright. Unlike many other members of the genus Coprosma (Copro is from the Greek word for dung), this plant does not have foul-smelling foliage or fruit.
'Aiakanene is found growing in sunny, open, upland areas, and it is a common colonist of higher elevation lava flows and cinder fields. The berries are a favorite food of the endangered Hawaiian goose, the Nene (Branta sandvicensis).
Edible – The ripe berries are edible, but they are flavorless and were used by the Hawaiians as a laxative, so they are not the best for eating.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Rubiaceae – Madder family
Genus: Coprosma J.R. Forst. & G. Forst. – mirrorplant
Species: Coprosma ernodeoides A. Gray – 'aiakanene
More About This Plant