[M. malabathricum sensu Hawaiian botanists, non L.]
This noxious, spreading shrub forms tangled brush up to 2 m tall which crowds out all other species. Its berry-like fruit is dispersed by frugivorous birds. There is no information on its adaptation to fire. Although Gardner and Davis (1982) suggested that it has been partially controlled by Selca brunella Hampson caterpillars, there is little evidence of any decrease in population levels.
There are heavy infestations on Kaua'i and the Puna and Hamakua Districts of Hawai'i from sea level to 700 m. In some areas of Kaua'i, particularly in Kilohana Crater, it is being replaced by Rhodomyrtus tomentosa.