O‘ahu PEPP Coordinator Susan Ching Harbin O‘ahu Plant Extinction Prevention Program 2551 Waimano Home Rd, Rm 202 Pearl City, HI 96782 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
February, 2015 NEW PEP SPECIES DISCOVERY! An unusual species of Cyanea was discovered on the Kōnāhua-nui summit area of the Ko‘olau Mountains on O‘ahu in September 2012. After close analysis of its fruits and flowers in comparison to other known Cyanea species, it was determined to be a new species and named Cyanea konahuanuiensis. With roughly 20 known individuals, this new species is the latest addition to the PEP Species list. Read about the discovery and description of C. konahuanuiensis in the journal Phytokeys.
Cyanea konahuanuiensis - photo by Maggie Sprock-Koehler
OPEPP coordinator, Susan Ching Harbin and Oahu DoFAW District Botanist, Lara Reynolds, appeared on "Pathways to Paradise" on `Ōlelo Community Media - "Protecting the Endangered Plants and Species of the Honouliuli Forest Reserve" (Part One; Part Two); Found 12 more Schiedea adamantis, however, approximately the same number recently perished
Outplanted Cryptocarya cf. oahuensis in new small exclosure built in partnership with Oahu NARS
Outplanted Lobelia monostachya in planters designed by OPEPP and built into the crevices of rock outcroppings
A Reintroduction Success Story
Currently there are just two naturally occurring Cyaneatruncata individuals remaining in the wild. The O‘ahu Plant Extinction Prevention Program (OPEPP) has been working with this species since 2003 to insure its survival. Despite the extreme difficulty of reintroduced plants surviving successfully in the wild, Cyanea truncata is one of the few species for which reintroductions have been maturing and even fruiting. This is a direct result of intensive management by the OPEP program.
Cyanea truncata (Hawaiian name: hāhā) is a member of the Bellflower family (Campanulaceae) and is a palm-like shrub known from the wet, windward gulches of the Northern Ko`olau Mountains on O`ahu. This species has only ever been known from a handful of individuals scattered from Waiāhole to Kaipapa`u valleys where it is often found with native riparian/stream bank vegetation including Māmaki (Pipturus albidus), Ha`iwale (Cyrtandra sp.), Koki`o ke`oke`o (Hibiscus arnottianus), and many ferns and mosses.
The historically low numbers of individuals may be due to the environment this species inhabits - plants growing along stream banks may be washed away in large flood events. The low numbers of known plants may also be due to the lack of exploration in the wet gulches of the windward Ko`olau Mountains. Additionally, this species, along with many other rare Hawaiian plant species, is threatened by a multitude of introduced threats including pigs, slugs, rats, and weeds. The habitat in which this species is found has undergone severe alteration by weedy species and destruction by feral pigs in recent years; fruit can be eaten by rats and seedlings are eaten by slugs.
C. truncata grows up to 2 meters (6.6 feet) tall and can be branched near the base. The leaves are stiff, up to 60 cm (23.6 inches) long, and are bunched near the top of the plant. This species can have up to 40 tubular flowers in a single inflorescence (stem). Individual flowers are 30-40 cm (11.8-15.7 inches) long and lavender to magenta and white striped. Ripe fruit are orange berries with brown shiny seeds embedded in the flesh.
This species, and other hāhā species, are assumed to have been pollinated by native Hawaiian honeycreeper birds (Lammers and Freeman, 1986). The tubular flowers of Cyanea species are decurved in the same shape and angle as presumed bird pollinators such as the `i’iwi (Vestiaria coccinea), a native honeycreeper bird. It is also assumed that the fruit of this species would have been eaten and spread by native birds, which are now extinct or much reduced in numbers. However, even with the decline of `i`iwi and other native nectivorous birds (Pratt, 1994) on O`ahu, C. truncata is still able to produce viable seeds.
OPEPP is currently working with Kualoa Ranch to protect the remaining wild plants with ungulate fencing and weed control. Rat control occurs if insufficient fruit is able to be collected for propagation. There are no chemical slug control methods currently approved for forest use in Hawai`i and copper barriers are very labor intensive and have proven to be only minimally effective (Joe and Daehler, 2008). OPEPP is also working to increase the population of Cyanea truncata through reintroducing plants that are large enough to withstand the pressure from slugs.
Today there are 16 reintroduced plants grown from the seed of three wild individuals that are within 3 ungulate-proof fences at both current and historic locations of this species.
Joe, S.M., and C.C. Daehler. 2008. Invasive slugs as under-appreciated obstacles to rare plant restoration: evidence from the Hawaiian Islands. Biological Invasions 10: 245-255
Lammers, T.G., and C.E. Freeman. 1986. Ornithophily among the Hawaiian Lobelioideae (Campanulaceae).: evidence from nectar sugar compositions. American Journal of Botany 73:1612-1619.
Pratt, H. D. 1994. Avifaunal change in the Hawaiian islands, 1893–1993. Pages 103–118 in A Century of Avifaunal Change in Western North America (J. R. Jehl, Jr., and N. K. Johnson, Eds.). Studies in Avian Biology, no. 15.
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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