Gardenia brighamii

Common Names:
Hawaiian gardenia, nanu, na'u
H. Mann
Growth Habit:
Tree, Shrub
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
David Orr
Fully Sponsored

Reference Links

ITIS - Tropicos - USDA Plants - Fish & WildLife

Participating Institutions

The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
Waimea Valley

The conservation of Gardenia brighamii is fully sponsored.
David Orr contributed to this Plant Profile.


Gardenia brighamii is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands and at one time thought to have occurred on all of the main islands. Judging from its use by the Hawaiians as a cloth dye, its habitat, associated species, and distribution in the early 1900s, it was probably a relatively common member of the lowland dry forest. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was considered common on west Moloka`i and Maui, but already either extirpated or very rare on the other islands. Today, the total known wild individuals of Gardenia brighamii numbers less than 20 and are distributed among 6 populations on Oah`u, Lana`i and Moloka`i.

Gardenia brighamii, the Hawaiian gardenia, somewhat resembles the commonly cultivated Tahitian gardenia (Gardenia taitensis). Gardenia brighamii is a small tree, which may grow up to 20 feet in height. The leaves are oval-shaped, shiny and dark green. The solitary flowers are white and very fragrant.

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research