Sida fallax
Starr 020112-0026 Sida fallax.jpg
Sida fallax flower Ilima.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Malvales
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Sida
S. fallax
Binomial name
Sida fallax

Sida fallax, known as yellow 'ilima,[1] or in Hawaiian, ʻilima, is a species of herbaceous flowering plant in the Hibiscus family, Malvaceae, that occurs on some Pacific Islands. Plants may be erect or prostrate and are found in drier areas in sandy soils, often near the ocean. ʻIlima is the symbol of Laloimehani and is the flower for the island of Oʻahu.

It is known as Kio in Marshallese.[2]


The flowers are small, 0.75–1 in (1.9–2.5 cm) in diameter, have five petals, and are a golden yellow in color.[3]

ʻIlima grows from 6 inches to 10 ft tall in prostrate (beach growing) and erect (upland shrub) forms.[3] Lowland ʻilima, known as ʻilima papa, has silver-green foliage, mountain varieties have smooth, green foliage. Leaves can be long and narrow or rounded or heart-shaped with finely to coarsely serrated leaf margins. Flowers may be solitary or occur in small clusters.[4]


Native Hawaiians used ʻilima flowers to make lei.[5] It used to be seen as a lei for royalty, but can now be worn by anyone. The flowers are sometimes also used as a food garnish.[6] It was also used medicinally.[5] S. fallax is sometimes used as a groundcover in tropical areas.


  1. ^ "Sida fallax". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Native plants of the Marshalls". Republic of the Marshall Islands Biodiversity Clearing House Mechanism. RMI Office of Environmental Planning and Policy Coordination (OEPPC). Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Sida fallax ('Ilima)". www.ctahr.hawaii.edu. Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  4. ^ Rauch, Fred D. (1997). "Ilima" (PDF). Cooperative Extension Service, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii at Manoa. p. 1. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  5. ^ a b "ʻilima, apiki, ʻilima lei, kapuaokanakamaimai. ʻilima ku kala, ʻilima makanaʻa". Hawaiian Ethnobotany Database. Bernice P. Bishop Museum. Retrieved 2009-03-29.
  6. ^ "Native Plants Hawaii - Viewing Plant : Sida fallax". nativeplants.hawaii.edu. Retrieved 2019-04-12.