Styphelia tameiameiae – Pukiawe
Styphelia tameiameiae is a flowering plant that belongs to the Ericaceae family. It can be in different forms, from a wide-spreading shrubs to small, upright trees. It is commonly known as Maiele or Pukiawe, and is indigenous in Marquesas Islands and Hawaii.
As a shrub, the Pukiawe grows from 0.9 to 3 millimeters or 3 to 9.8 feet tall. As a tree, it grows up to 4.6 meters or 15 feet, especially when grown in forests. It has a brown to black bark that has a rough texture, especially on stems of larger trees. With younger and slender twigs, though, the bark is usually pinkish brown and scaly.
The leaves of the Pukiawe are very small and narrow, with their width only growing about 1/10 of an inch, and their length 3/8 of an inch. They have a leathery texture and a dark green color on the top surface, and a light green to white color lower surface. Generally, they are arranged close together, covering the stems.
They grow white flowers that resemble the shape of a 5-pointed star. They normally grow to about 1/8 inch in diameter as a single flower or in small clusters. Pukiawe flowers can have both male and female parts, but sometimes, they can also be unisexual, which means that the male and female flowers grow on individual plants.
The flowers produce fruits that are either white, pink or red. The fruits are fleshy with a hard pit, like the one peaches have. However, it should be noted that the fruits may look appealing, but they are not edible.