Olona, Touchardia latifolia Gaud., is an endemic species of the wet forest and part of the family Urticaceae. It is a shrub 1-4 meters tall with erect stems that have few branches. Its paper-like dark green leaves may be ovate, lanceolate or elliptic in shape. The upper surface is smooth with prominent cystolith ( mass of calcium carbonate or silica growth on epidermis), while the lower surface has minute stiff hairs on glabrous surface. The margins of the leaves have small rounded teeth. Olona produces two types of inconspicuous greenish flower clusters that are arranged along the branches. The male flowers are 1-2 cm in diameter while the female flowers are 0.4 - 1 cm in diameter. It produces an ellipsoid, berry-like orange fruits.
The bark was valued highly by the early Hawaiians as a source of strong, durable fibers for fishnets, for nets (koko) to carry containers and as a base for ti-leaf raincoats and feather capes. Early traders used olona cordage for their ship riggings. This fiber is said to be stronger than hemp.
Olona, Touchardia latifolia Gaud., of the family Urticaceae is an endemic species of the mesic valleys and the wet forests, common in forested gullies 70 to 1,200 meters elevations on all islands except Niihau and Kahoolawe. Its leaves are variable in shape and pubescence of the lower surface, thus is said to be somewhat polymorphic. It is a shrub, 1-4 meters tall, erect to sprawling, with few branches.