Wood’s Hibiscadelphus

2019 CEHawaii

The Hau Kuahiwi, is a "small Hawaiian tree [that] occurs only on the island of Kauai, where it lives on cliffs. Hibiscadelphus species are closely related to Hibiscus, but their distinctive curved flowers have an abundance of nectar and do not fully open, which is thought to be an adaptation to pollination by honeycreepers. Predation and competition by non-native animals and plants drove the population to perilously low levels, and after three of the last four known individuals perished in a rockslide in the 1990s and the final plant died in 2011, the species was thought extinct. However, intensive drone surveys by National Tropical Botanical Garden in 2019 revealed a previously unknown population of another four individuals. Significant challenges remain – the plants are completely unreachable by humans, and although this may afford them some protection from invasive species, rockslides remain a threat."

"Amazing Species: Hau Kuahiwi," IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, 2021.

Image: KarlM at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons