Plant of the Month for June 2022: Mamaki

  • aMamaki trees remain fairly small and put out long arching branches. (Kim & Forest Starr via Diana Duff/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • Mamaki fruit appears to some as a weird growth but serves as a tasty treat for birds. (Kim & Forest Starr via Diana Duff/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • The unusual flowers as well as the red veined leaves distinguish the mamaki tree from other species. (Kim & Forest Starr via Diana Duff/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • A newly hatched caterpillar of the Kamehameha butterfly hides on the underside of mamaki leaves. (Kim & Forest Starr via Diana Duff/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • The Kamehameha is one of the few butterflies native to Hawaii. (Peter Van Dyke via Diana Duff/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • Mamaki is used in the healing practices of la‘au lapa‘au. Courtesy photo /Special to West Hawaii Today

  • In an effort to protect the Kamehameha butterfly and her habitats, UH entomologist Will Haines began managing the Pulelehua project in 2014. (UH CTAHR via Diana DUff/Special to West Hawaii Today)

This Saturday, June 11, is King Kamehameha Day here in Hawaii. It seems fitting to look forward to the day by celebrating the butterfly that carries the great Hawaiian king’s name as well as the native Hawaiian plant that the butterfly favors, the mamaki.