Naio can be a shrub or a tree up to 30 ft in height. It can grow low and spreading or tall and upright. The leaves are variable in length, from 1.5 to 9 inches long and are green and waxy. The flowers are white to purple or pink, bell-shaped, and give off a honey-like smell. The flowers can appear year round. Naio fruits are tiny and waxy white berry-like drupes that can turn brownish in color. They are said to be bitter tasting.This tree/shrub can grow in a variety of habitats from dry to wet forest and subalpine shrublands.
The name Naio is also the hawaiian name for pinworm seaweed. The genus name, Myporum, comes from the Greek words "myo" for "close" and "poros" for "pore" and refers to the leaf glands, which are close together. Naio wood is yellowish in color and oily in texture. It has been used to make many things, including ornamental end pieces for boats, called manu and canoes. The wood has also been shipped to China for use as incense. A type of forest, mamane-naio forest, is home to the endangered honeycreeper, Palila.