COMMON NAMES: Mämaki, mämake, waimea [Hawai’i]; ro’a [Tahiti].
FAMILY: Urticaceae (nettles family).
STATUS IN HAWAI’I: Endemic. Mämaki is an endemic plant appropriate for use because it is not rare or endangered.
HABITAT: Likes it wet. Often occurs as part of the under-story in native or mixed forest, particularly along streambeds.
TOXICITY: None noted.
CAUTIONS AND CONTRAINDICATIONS: None noted.
NOTES ‘N QUOTES
Two endemic butterflies, the Kamehameha butterfly and the Blackburn butterfly feed on mämaki.
There are four species of mämaki in Hawai’i, although all are very similar, both in appearance and in medicinal use. What is sometimes referred to as “green mämaki” is not mämaki at all but ‘äkölea (Boehmeria grandis), whose medicinal uses are different than that of mämaki.