Ala means path, while heʻe means to slide. When the Alaheʻe tree is full of flowers, the smell slides down the mountain leading a fragrant path. The fragrant white flowers bloom during the summer and are prized for making lei. A heavy, dense wood with a strong and straight trunk or branches makes this the perfect tree to fashion straight tools from. Tools such as house materials, spears, and ʻōʻō (digging sticks); even handles for adzes, fish hooks, and a cutting tool for softer woods. Alaheʻe leaves are oblong and shiny and are used to make a black stain.