Native Plants Hawaii - Viewing Plant : Tetramolopium filiforme (2024)

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Tetramolopium filiforme

Native Plants Hawaii - Viewing Plant : Tetramolopium filiforme (1)Main Plant Information






  • filiforme
  • polyphyllum

Common Names

  • Ridgetop tetramolopium

Names with Unknown Sources

  • Makua daisy

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Native Plants Hawaii - Viewing Plant : Tetramolopium filiforme (2)Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status


Endangered Species Status

Federally Listed

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Shrub

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Shrub, Dwarf, Less than 2

Mature Size, Width

The plant has about a one-foot spread.

Life Span

Short lived (Less than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Accent
  • Container
  • Specimen Plant

Additional Landscape Use Information

Both varieties of Tetramolopium filiforme are known to be in cultivation with var. polyphyllum more readily seen. Cultivated plants are short-lived to about two or three years. Wild plants can live to 5-10 years. [2] In cultivation, plants will easily set seed shortly after flowering in pots with sufficient moisture and germinate in about 3 weeks, with flowers appearing in about 18 weeks. [1]

Outplant with trees and shrubs and other small plants for added protection. These small shrubs are attracitve planted around the base of stones and other plants as accents. [Rick Barboza, Hui Kū Maoli Ola] Tetramolpium look great in a black cinder bed against large boulders. They do very well in pots too.

In the landscape, if the seeds are not collected they can appear in other some strange areas, such as on/in rock walls, because of wind scattered seeds, and can at first be mistaken for a common garden weed. The small dandy lion-like clusters of seeds can be harvested before the wind takes them away. Store them in a refrigerator in a paper envelope. They can remain viable for at least two years. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Tetramolopium species easily hybridize between each other and produce viable seed--a fact to bear in mind when growing more than one species.[David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Plant Produces Flowers


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Native Plants Hawaii - Viewing Plant : Tetramolopium filiforme (3)Flower Characteristics

Flower Type


Flower Colors

  • Light Purple
  • Purple
  • White

Additional Flower Color Information

The white or pale lavender petals (corollas) or florets are the female portion of the flower and maroon or, more rarely yellow, centers are the male portion.

Blooming Period

  • Spring
  • Winter

Additional Blooming Period and Fruiting Information

Plants bloom in late winter to early spring in the wild but can also be induced to bloom by heavy rainfall. [1,2] The variety filiforme usually blooms a few weeks earlier than var. polyphyllum.

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Native Plants Hawaii - Viewing Plant : Tetramolopium filiforme (4)Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Fine

Additional Plant Texture Information

Leaves are usually under an inch long. The two recognized varieties, var. filiforme and var. polyphyllum, are based on leaf characteristics and range.

The variety filiforme has narrow (thread or filament-like) un-branching leaves; var. polyphyllum, as the name suggests, has few to many (poly-) branching leaves (-phyllus). The form differences are genetically based.

Leaf Colors

  • Medium Green

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Native Plants Hawaii - Viewing Plant : Tetramolopium filiforme (5)Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

Plants are prone to ants, scale, [2] spider mites and root mealy bugs.

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Native Plants Hawaii - Viewing Plant : Tetramolopium filiforme (6)Growth Requirements


Apply a balanced slow release fertilizer with minor elements once a year. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Pruning Information

Spent flowers can be trimmed off or allowed to form seed heads for future sowing or reseeding.

Water Requirements

  • Dry

Additional Water Information

When first planted, water weekly for a month and after that only when the soil is very dry.

Soil must be well drained


Light Conditions

  • Full sun
  • Partial sun

Additional Lighting Information

This tetramolopium does best with as much sunlight as possible. [Rick Barboza, Hui Kū Maoli Ola]


  • Drought


  • Cinder


Shelter plant from the wind. It is somewhat drought tolerant once established. Too much water can eventually cause the roots to rot. [Rick Barboza, Hui Kū Maoli Ola]

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Native Plants Hawaii - Viewing Plant : Tetramolopium filiforme (7)Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Oʻahu

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • 1000 to 1999, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 2000 to 2999, 0 to 50 (Dry)


  • Terrestrial

Additional Habitat Information

This tetramolopium is scattered to common and known only from dry ridge habitats in dry-mesic to mesic habitat in a very few locations in the Waiʻanae Mountains, Oʻahu (ʻŌhikilolo Ridge, Keaʻau Valley, and Mākaha Valley). [1]

The varieties are separated geographically from 1900 to about 2950 feet, with var. filiforme found on xeric cliff faces below 770 m. (2526 ft.) and var. polyphyllum on mesic slopes above 770 m. on ʻŌhikilolo Ridge.

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Native Plants Hawaii - Viewing Plant : Tetramolopium filiforme (8)Special Features and Information

General Information

There are nearly 40 species of Tetramolopium in the Sunflower family or Asteraceae. One species is found in the Cook Is., about 25 are in New Guinea, and twelve endemic species in the Hawaiian Islands. Nearly every Hawaiian species is considered either vulnerable, rare or federally listed as endangered, with a few extinct.


Tetramolopium is derived from the Greek tetra, four, and molopium, stripes, referring to the nerves on the achene (fruit, seed).

For the varietal names filiforme, thread or filament-like, refer to the narrow un-branching leaves; while polyphyllum refer to the many, (poly-), branching leaves (-phyllus).

Additional References

[1] "Recovery Plan for the Oahu Plants" by USFWS, page 158.

[2] "Implementation Plan for Mākua Military Reservation, Island of Oahu 16.162 Taxon Summary: Tetramolopium filiforme," pages 16-162 to 16-163, 16-165, 16-167.


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Native Plants Hawaii - Viewing Plant : Tetramolopium filiforme (9)More Links

Plant Gallery

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Plant List

Other Nursery Profiles for Tetramolopium filiforme

  • Hui Kū Maoli Ola: Hawaiian Plant Specialists

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Native Plants Hawaii - Viewing Plant : Tetramolopium filiforme (2024)
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