CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Abutilon sandwicense

Photographer:
Steve Perlman

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CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Abutilon sandwicense


Family: 
Malvaceae  
Common Name: 
green-flowered abutilon
Author: 
(Degener) Christoph.
Growth Habit: 
Shrub
CPC Number: 
14

Distribution
Protection
Conservation
References


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Abutilon sandwicenseenlarge
Photographer: Steve Perlman
Image Owner: National Tropical Botanical Garden


Abutilon sandwicense is Not Sponsored
Primary custodian for this plant in the CPC National Collection of Endangered Plants is: 

 
Abutilon sandwicense


There are three threatened Abutilon species endemic to Hawai’i (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [USFWS] 2001). This particular species once occurred along nearly the entire length of the Wai’anae Mountains on the island of O’ahu, Hawaii, but its populations are rapidly declining. In 1998, 14 populations were recorded (USFWS 1998), three years later, only 12 populations were located (USFWS 2001).

A. sandwicense, a member of the mallow family (Malvaceae) is a shrub that can grow 1.5 to 3 meters (10 feet) tall. The pale green, heart-shaped leaves of A. sandwicense are sparsely puberulent with margins that are slightly dentate (toothed along the margins). The small (4 to 5 cm long) greenish flowers of A. sandwicense can be found growing out of the plant’s leaf axils, drooping downward like pendulums. Their calyx is greenish yellow with petals that are bright green to reddish brown with green veins. (Wagner et al. 1999)

A. sandwicense flowers in the winter and spring, fruit capsules take approximately six weeks to ripen. Germination of seeds is often successful in the wild, as seedlings are often initially abundant. However, few plants survive to maturity for unknown reasons. (USFWS 2002)

Distribution & Occurrence

State Range
  Hawaii
State Range of  Abutilon sandwicense
Habitat
  A. sandwicense is found in dry forests between 400 to 600 meters (1,312 to 1,969 ft) elevation (Wagner et al. 1999).

Associated dry forest species for A. sandwicense include Diospyros spp. (lama), Pipturus albidus (mamaki), Elaeocarpus bifidus (kalia), Sapindus oahuensis (aulu), Nestegis sandwicensis (olopua), and Psydrax orodatum (alahee).

Distribution
  A. sandwicense is endemic to O’ahu and was historically found along nearly the entire length of the Wai’anae Mountains, from Makaleha Valley to Nanakuli Valley. This species is now recorded from Makaleha Valley east to Palikea Gulch, south to Nanakuli Valley and Makaha-Wai'anae Kai Ridge (USFWS 1998).

Number Left
  Nos. of pops: 12 (USFWS 2001)
Nos. of plants: 200-300 (USFWS 2001)
12 populations-8 of these populations number fewer than 10 individuals each, and the remaining 4 populations number between 30-100 individuals each

Protection

Global Rank:  
G1
 
6/6/1997
Guide to Global Ranks
Federal Status:  
LE
 
10/24/1996
Guide to Federal Status
Recovery Plan:  
Yes
 
8/10/1998

State/Area Protection
  State/Area Rank Status Date  
  Hawaii S1 4/11/2002  

Conservation, Ecology & Research

Ecological Relationships
  A. sandwicense is a hermaphrodite that is presumed to be insect-pollinated (Sakai et al. 1995).

Threats
  Threats to A. sandwicense include competition from alien plant species (Christmas berry [Schinus terebinthifolius], kukui [Aleurites moluccana], koster’s curse [Clidemia hirta], molasses grass [Melinus minutiflora] and huehue haole [Passiflora suberosa]), fire, and degradation of habitat by goats, pigs, and cattle. Cultivated plants of A. sandwicense are affected by the coffee twig borer (Xylosandrus compactus). Wild seedlings of A. sandwicense are usually abundant but suffer from high levels of mortality (USFWS 1998).

Current Research Summary
  The seeds of A. sandwicense have been tested by the National Seed Storage Laboratory (NSSL), indicating that they are probably orthodox (Yoshinaga 2002).

Current Management Summary
  The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii (TNCH) is monitoring and controlling alien weeds around one population of A. sandwicense in Honouliuli Preserve at Huliwai Gulch. Those 11 plants seem to be healthy, but they are threatened by human activity on an adjacent trail and also by the invasive plant, huehue haole (Passiflora suberosa).

The Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources (DOFAW), has targeted A. sandwicense to be outplanted at Pahole Nature Area Reserve (NAR). The National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) has also successfully propagated A. sandwicense (USFWS 1998).

NTBG currently has ex situ holdings of 277 seeds in its seed bank, derived from two of the twelve populations. In addition, three individuals from two populations are growing in the grounds of the botanical garden.

In May, 2002, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that a designation of critical habitat was prudent for this species. (USFWS 2002)

Research Management Needs
  1. After testing the effects of fencing, construct enclosures to protect the wild population against feral ungulates, on State, Federal, and private grounds.
2. Control competing invasive plant species within enclosures.
3. Survey areas that are likely to have other populations of A. sandwicense such as areas around Pu’u Pane and the Wai’anae Mountains.
4. Implement control methods for the coffee twig borer.
5. Protect wild populations of A. sandwicense from fire by coordinating plan to protect state natural area reserves such as Mt. Kaala, and Mokuleia NAR (Natural Area Reserve), and federal lands such as Schofield Barracks Military Reservation.
6. Map genetic diversity in the surviving populations of A. sandwicense.
7. Conduct pollination biology and seed dispersal studies.
Recommendations derived from M.H. Chapin, M. Maunder, and USFWS (1998).

Ex Situ Needs
  1. Establish seed collections from all accessible wild populations, with seed collected from available wild founder individuals.
2. Development of proper horticultural protocols and pest management for A. sandwicense.
3. Establish an ex situ population on O’ahu to support recovery activity.
4. Survey ex situ holding and conduct molecular fingerprinting.
5. Test seedlings from botanic gardens to ascertain levels of hybridization with congenerics.
Recommendations derived from M.H. Chapin and M. Maunder.

References

Books (Single Authors)

Wagner, W.L.; Bruegmann, M.M.; Herbst, D.R; Lau, J.Q.C. 1999. Hawaiian Vascular Plants at Risk: 1999. Honolulu, HI: Bishop Museum Press Honolulu.

Wagner, W.L.; Herbst, D.R.; Sohmer, S.H. 1999. Manual of the flowering plants of Hawai'i--Revised Edition. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press and Bishop Museum Press. 1853p.

Books (Sections)

Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the U.S., Canada, and Greenland. In: Kartesz, J.T.; Meacham, C.A., editors. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden. Chapel Hill, NC.

Electronic Sources

NatureServe. (2008). NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. [Internet].Version 7.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. http://www.natureserve.org/explorer. Accessed: (June 17, 2008).

USFWS. (2001). Unpublished data. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Honolulu, Hawaii 96817. Accessed: 2001.

Yoshinaga, A. (2002). Seed storage characteristics of Hawaiian species. [Web site] University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii 96848. http://www.hawaii.edu/scb/seed/seedtabl.html. Accessed: 2002.

Journal Articles

Christophersen, E. 1934. A new Hawaiian Abutilon. Occasional Papers of the Bernice P. Bishop Museum. 10, 15: 1-7.

Ellshoff, Z.E. 1991. The Rarest Hawaiian Members of the Hibiscus Family. National Tropical Botanical Garden: The Bulletin. 21, 3: 7-12.

Sakai, A.K.; Wagner, W.L.; Ferguson, D.M.; Herbst, D.R. 1995. Origins of Dioecy in the Hawaiian Flora. Ecology. 76, 8: 2517-2529.

USFWS. 1976. Proposed Endangered Status for 1700 U.S. Plants. Federal Register. 41: 24523-24572.

USFWS. 1990. 46 Plants and Animals. Endangered Species Technical Bulletin. 15, 10: 4-10.

USFWS. 1990. Proposed Endangered Status for 26 Plants from the Waianae Mountains, Island of Oahu, HI. Federal Register. 55, 189: 39664-39680.

USFWS. 1991. Determination of Endangered Status for 26 Plants From the Waianae Mountains, Island of Oahu, Hawaii. Federal Register. 56: 55770-55786.

USFWS. 2002. Designations of Critical Habitat for Plant Species From the Island of Oahu, Hawaii. Federal Register. 67, 102: 37108-37156.

Reports

TNC. 2000. Honouliuli Preserve Master Plan. The Nature Conservancy. Web site;.

USFWS. 1998. Recovery Plan for Oahu Plants. Portland, Oregon: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. p.207 , plus appendices. Final Recovery Plan.


  This profile was updated on 3/4/2010
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