The pu’u wa’awa’a is a highly threatened (1), woody vine that is found only in the Hawaiian Islands (3). The branches, which grow up to ten metres long (2), twist and wind around themselves and other vegetation as it sprawls across the ground or creeps upwards (3). The vine, which has a fuzzy texture when young, bears leathery leaves, oblong or oval in shape, that measure up to three to nine centimetres long and one to four centimetres wide (2). The upper surface of the leaf may be covered with sparse hairs, but is typically hairless (2), while the underside of the leaf is covered with dense, fuzzy, brown hairs (2) (3). The pu’u wa’awa’a produces white to greenish, funnel-shaped flowers (2), measuring about 2.5 centimetres long (3). The flowers are borne singly or in clusters of three on short stalks which have tiny, modified leaves (known as bracts) at their base (2). The fruits of the pu’u wa’awa’a are brown, papery capsules and contain one or two oval seeds embedded in black pulp (2) (3).
The pu’u wa’awa’a is a member of the ‘morning glory’ family (the Convolvulaceae), of which there are almost 2,000 species worldwide (2) (4). The pu’u wa’awa’a is the only morning glory species, and indeed the only species of the Bonamia genus, endemic to the Hawaiian Islands (2).
- Vine length: up to 10 m (2)