3-8’ x 4-15’+ Olapa is a shrub or small tree noted for its shiny pointed oval, yellow-green leaves which flutter in the breeze. The reddish brown flower buds accent the colorful leaves and form large clusters while the flower itself is whitish but quite small and small dark berries follow these.
The fruit, leaves and bark were used to produce a bluish-black dye. The leaves were added to lei while the inner bark had medicinal properties. ‘Olapa’ is also a term used in Hula to denote the dancers movement, like that of the trees leaves.