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Starr 060225-6118 Charpentiera obovata.jpg
Charpentiera obovata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Charpentiera

Charpentiera australis[1]
Charpentiera densiflora[2]
Charpentiera elliptica[2]
Charpentiera obovata[3]
Charpentiera ovata[2]
Charpentiera tomentosa[4]

Charpentiera is a flowering plant genus in the pigweed family, Amaranthaceae. It consists of five species endemic to Hawaiʻi, where they are known as pāpala, and one species found only on the island of Tubuai in the Austral Islands. All species are trees, some reaching more than 10 metres (33 ft) in height. The genus is named for Arsène Charpentier (1781-1818), professor of pharmacy at Antwerp from 1810 to 1814 and at Cherbourg from 1814 to 1816.[5][6]



Native Hawaiians on the northwest coast of the island of Kauaʻi used lightweight pāpala branches in the art of ʻōahi. Branches were ignited and tossed off of high sea cliffs, where they were buoyed by ridge lifts and burned like fireworks.[9]


  1. ^ Mueller-Dombois, Dieter; Francis Raymond Fosberg (1998). "Chapter VII. Eastern Polynesia". Vegetation of the Tropical Pacific Islands. Springer. p. 405. ISBN 978-0-387-98313-4. 
  2. ^ a b c "PLANTS Profile for Charpentiera (papala)". PLANTS Database. United States Department of Agriculture. 
  3. ^ "Charpentiera obovata". Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk. Archived from the original on 2012-08-03. Retrieved 2009-01-30. 
  4. ^ a b c "Charpentiera tomentosa Sohmer". The PLANTS Database. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2009-03-24. 
  5. ^ Gaudichaud-Beaupré, Charles. (1826)in Freycinet Voyage autour du monde, Botanique 444 [1]
  6. ^ Léonard, Jacques. (1967) Les Officiers de santé de la Marine Française de 1814 à 1835.
  7. ^ a b c d "papala". Hawaiian Ethnobotany Online Database. Bernice P. Bishop Museum. Archived from the original on 2007-07-02. Retrieved 2009-03-24. 
  8. ^ Little Jr., Elbert L.; Roger G. Skolmen (1989). "Pāpala" (PDF). United States Forest Service. [permanent dead link]
  9. ^ Medeiros, A. C.; C.F. Davenport; C.G. Chimera (1998). "Auwahi: Ethnobotany of a Hawaiian Dryland Forest" (PDF). Cooperative National Park Resources Studies Unit, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa: 39–40. Retrieved 2009-03-24.  Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.