The Last Wild O`ahu Na`u Survived the Fire! The recent fires on O`ahu scorched thousands of acres in Nānākuli and threatened to eliminate O`ahu's last remaining wild Gardenia brighamii (na`u). A recent survey by PEPP and DoFAW found that the tree shows signs it survived the fire: green leaves and viable fruit!
This revered species, used traditionally for house posts, anvils, lei and yellow dye, was thought to be widely distributed throughout the dryland forests of Hawai`i, Lāna`i, Moloka`i, Maui and O`ahu. The current distribution of wild trees, aside from the lone wild tree on O`ahu, is limited to just over a dozen individuals on Lāna`i. Thankfully, hard work by PEPP and partner organizations, who have spent many years collecting fruit and cuttings from the remaining wild plants, have reintroduced over 150 offspring into protected Hawaiian forests. Our tireless efforts will continue to protect the last na`u on O`ahu and the hundreds of other critically endangered plant species throughout the Hawaiian Islands.
See the video below from the Hawai`i Department of Land and Natural Resources about the visit to the last na`u and the effects of the fire.
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Plant Extinction Prevention Program Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit University of Hawai`i C/O DLNR-DOFAW 19 East Kawili Street Hilo, Hawaii 96720