ʻAlena (Boerhavia repens)

Boerhavia repens, a native plant called ʻAlena, is a creeping vine, generally easy to distinguish from other plants on Kure. At a young age the leaf shape and size are somewhat similar to Flaveria and can catch your eye while spraying. The branching nerve pattern on Boerhavia readily distinguishes it from the 3-nerved pattern found on Flaveria. The congener, B. coccinea, used to be common in camp. It is non-native and was aggressively treated and is now either rare or gone. It can be difficult to distinguish from B. repens before flowering. B. repens has pinkish flowers, B. coccinea flowers are dark red or magenta.


Boerhavia cotyledons lack nerves, and the leaves are kidney-shaped (especially when very new) to round. At this stage, leaf size is generally asymmetric. The first true leaf, seen in the photo below, shows the branched nerve pattern that distinguishes Boerhavia from Flaveria.

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