Metrosideros polymorpha – 'Ohi'a Lehua

Metrosideros polymorpha - 'Ohi'a Lehua, Ohia (red flowers)

Metrosideros polymorpha - 'Ohi'a Lehua, Ohia (pink flowers)

Metrosideros polymorpha - 'Ohi'a Lehua, Ohia (yellow flowers)

Metrosideros polymorpha - 'Ohi'a Lehua, Ohia

Metrosideros polymorpha - 'Ohi'a Lehua, Ohia (bark)

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Metrosideros polymorpha

Common Names: 'Ohi'a Lehua, Ohia

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial, Evergreen

Growth Habit: Tree, Shrub

Hawaii Native Status: Native (endemic)

Flower Color: Red, Orange, Yellow, Salmon pink, White (rare)

Flowering Season: Some bloom sporadically in different areas at different elevations throughout the year, but flowering peaks and is most widespread during the spring.

Height: Up to 100 feet (30 m) tall, but it varies greatly in height and may be anything from a low-growing shrub to a towering tree.

Description: The flowers have numerous brush-like stamens and are clustered above the foliage. The flowers can come in a variety of colors, but the vast majority are red. The nectar-filled flowers are an important food source for the endemic Hawaiian honeycreepers (birds in the subfamily Drepanidinae). The fruits are woody capsules containing numerous tiny seeds. The leaves are opposite, leathery, dark green, and oval to egg-shaped. With age, the bark becomes silver gray and shredding. In some areas, the branches may have dangling, broom-like bundles of aerial roots.

This is the most abundant and widespread tree in the main Hawaiian Islands, and it is one of the first trees to colonize recent lava flows. It is found from sea level to around 8500 feet (2591 m) in elevation (treeline).


Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Myrtales
Family: Myrtaceae – Myrtle family
Genus: Metrosideros Banks ex Gaertn. – lehua
Species: Metrosideros polymorpha Gaudich. – 'ohi'a lehua

More About This Plant

Hawaii County Distribution Map