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    (Click here to return to Plants & Creatures)

    Common Name:Kili'o'opu (Key-lee oh oh-poo)
    Radial leaves with centered flower
    Scientific:Kyllinga brevifolia
    Color:Greenish brown
    Habitat:Sea level to 2,800 ft

    The Kili'o'opu is related to the Sedge family of plants and grows like a grass though it spreads by a creeping rhizome instead of seeds. The plant was introduced to Hawai'i by the Europeans primarily as a form of cattle grazing grass.

    Kili'o'opu is a rather striking grass. Growing up to two feet in height, the top of each stalk splits into three leaves at exactly equal angles. In the very center where the three leaves join is a greenish (or sometimes white-tan for the closely related Kyllinga nemoralis) flower.

    Closeup of flower

    Perfectly angled leaves

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    All images and content, unless otherwise indicated, are © 2004-2021 InstantHawaii / David Cook
    Nene photo in top graphics by Brenda Zaun