'Akia is a densely branched, sprawling shrub that grows from 3 to 5 ft tall. The branches can be a range of colors, from gray to yellow to reddish brown. Yellow to yellow-green tubular flowers bloom throughout the year. Individual shrubs have either male flowers or female flowers, but not both. The leaves occur in pairs of two, overlapping on the branch, and are dark green on top and light green below. Fruits are bright red to crimson oval berries, only a quarter to half-inch in size.
'Akia is endemic (only found natively) to Hawaii. It is a popular landscape plant and prefers to grow in areas of full sun. The name 'Akia means "to ferment; very sour." The flowers produce a musky smell and the fruits have been used in leis. Bark from this shrub has been used for fiber material for ropes. Many parts of the shrub (leaves, bark, roots, and stems) have been used to create a poison for stupefying fish.