Snapshot: Niu Valley’s Papala

Papala (Charpentiera ovata) is still found scattered in many valleys and gulches of Moloka’i, Maui, and Hawai’i. On O’ahu its range is limited to the Southern Ko’olaus. C. ovata is split into 2 different varieties. The more common var. ovata has leaves with the widest point near the base of the leaf.

The other variety, the aptly named niuensis, is only found in Niu and Wailupe Valley. I came across this individual off a side spur of Niu. This population of C. ovata has the widest point near the middle of the leaf lengthwise, giving it a more elliptic overall appearance.

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