CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Kokia cookei

Photographer:
Waimea

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CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Kokia cookei


Family: 
Malvaceae  
Common Names: 
Cooke kokio, Cooke's kokio, hau Hele'ula, Hawaiian tree cotton, koki'o, Molokai koki'o, Molokai red cotton
Author: 
Degener
Growth Habit: 
Tree, Shrub
CPC Number: 
2385

Distribution
Protection
Conservation
References


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Kokia cookeienlarge
Photographer: Waimea

Kokia cookeienlarge
Photographer: Waimea


Kokia cookei is Fully Sponsored
Primary custodian for this plant in the CPC National Collection of Endangered Plants is: 
David Orr contributed to this Plant Profile.

 
Kokia cookei


Kokia cookei is considered one of the rarest and most endangered plant species in the world. It was discovered in the 1860's on the western end of Moloka`i by Mr. R. Meyer. This find consisted of 3 tress, which were not relocated on subsequent visits a few years later. In 1910, a single living tree was discovered within the general area of the initial sighting and may in fact, have been one of the original trees. In 1915, this last remaining wild specimen was found in extremely poor condition though a few seeds were found and collected. Kokia cookei became extirpated from the wild in 1918. Seeds from this collection produced only one seedling that survived past 1933. This one remaining seedling was planted at a Kauluwai residence on Moloka`i, and produced over 130 seedlings though none of these plants have persisted. In the late 1950's, the single plant at Kauluwai, Moloka`i died and it was presumed extinct.

In 1970, a single plant of the species was discovered at the Moloka`i residence, probably a surviving relict of the previous cultivated plant. But in 1978, a fire destroyed the last remaining rooted plant of Kokia cookei. Fortunately, before it was destroyed, a branch was removed and later grafted onto a related species at the Waimea Arboretum. Currently, Kokia cookei exists as approximately 23 grafted plants.

Distribution & Occurrence

State Range
  Hawaii
State Range of  Kokia cookei
Habitat
  The only historic habitat is dryland forest on the western (leeward) end of Molokai near Mahana, northeast of Puu Nana at approximately 200 meters (660 feet) elevation (Wagner et al. 1999) and (USFWS 1998).

Distribution
  The full natural range of Kokia cookei cannot be determined due to the near complete loss of native, dryland forest on Moloka`i. Now only found in cultivation (USFWS 1998).

Number Left
  Kokia cookei is extinct in the wild. Currently, the species exists as 23 grafted plants in 5 different locations on the islands of Maui, Molokai, Hawaii and Oahu. Seven individuals are in cultivation in facilities on the islands of Maui and O`ahu. One individual is located at a private residence on the island of Hawai`i. The remaining 15 individuals are in small outplanting sites on Moloka`i Ranch lands, at Puu Nana (USFWS 1998) and (Woolliams and Gerum 1992).

Protection

Global Rank:  
GXC
 
5/29/1997
Guide to Global Ranks
Federal Status:  
LE
 
10/30/1979
Guide to Federal Status
Recovery Plan:  
Yes
 
5/27/1998

State/Area Protection
  State/Area Rank Status Date  
  Hawaii SX LE 4/11/2002  

Conservation, Ecology & Research

Ecological Relationships
  Prior to the arrival of Polynesians around 400 A.D., nectar-feeding passerine birds were apparently common in lowland dryland forest areas of the Hawaiian Islands (James and Olson 1991). After the arrival of Polynesians, and followed by Europeans in the late 1700s , native nectar-feeding birds were extirpated from dryland forest. Kokia cookei is apparently adapted to bird pollination. The loss of native nectar-feeding birds may have contributed to the decline of the species (USFWS 1998).

Threats
  Exotic invasive plants
Heavy grazing from goats, deer, sheep and cattle
Habitat conversion as a result of agricultural practices
Seed predation
Low number of individuals and populations
Lack of naturally rooted plants
Lack of viable seed production
(USFWS 1998)

Current Research Summary
  Propagation attempts through seeds, cuttings, grafting, air layering and tissue culture continue (USFWS 1998).

Current Management Summary
  2 fenced outplanting sites on west Moloka`i (USFWS 1998) and (Woolliams and Gerum 1992).

Research Management Needs
  Identify more outplanting sites and establish field populations which possess natural reproductive capabilities
Monitoring and field work on existing outplanting sites
Mitigate or eliminate all threats
(USFWS 1998)

Ex Situ Needs
  Genetic studies
Physiological studies
Propagation-increase the number of individuals
Establish and manage ex situ plantings in botanical gardens.
(USFWS 1998)

References

Books (Single Authors)

James, H.F.; Olson, S.L. 1991. Descriptions of thirty-two new species of birds from the Hawaiian Islands: Part II. Passeriformes. Washington, D.C.: Ornithological Monographs No. 46. the American Ornithologists Union.

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

(2002). Hawaiian Native Plant Genera. Gerald D. Carr, University of Hawaii Botany Department. http://www.botany.hawaii.edu/faculty/carr/natives.htm. Accessed: 2002.

Gustafson, R.J. Hawaii's Unique and Vanishing Flora: A Photographic Exhibition. [Web site] The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Foundation. http://www.nhm.org/research/botany/Hawaii_Vanishing_Flora/home.html. Accessed: 2002.

Journal Articles

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

Garnett, W. 1987. Update of CPC Activities. Notes from Waimea Arboretum & Botanical Garden. 14: 12-13.

Rock, J.F. 1919. The Hawaiian genus Kokia. A relative of the cotton. Botanical Bulletin of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture and Forestry. 6: 1-22.

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

USFWS. 1979. Determination that Kokia cookei is an Endangered Species. Federal Register. 44: 62470-62471.

USFWS. 1979. Service Lists 32 Plants. Endangered Species Technical Bulletin. 4, 11: 1, 5-8.

Woolliams, K.; Degener, O.; Degener, I. 1980. Kokia cookei Deg....then there were two!. Notes Waimea Arboretum & Botanical Garden. 7, 1: 2-7.

Woolliams, K.R.; Gerum, S.B. 1992. Kokia cookei: a chronology. Notes from Waimea Arboretum and Botanical Garden. 19: 7-12.

Newspaper Articles

Shapiro, Treena. 2002 Tuesday, June 18, 2002. Rare blossom in bloom. Honolulu Star-Bulletin; Honolulu, HI.

Taylor, Lois. 1997 Friday, January 24, 1997. Test tube plants preserve species. Honolulu Star Bulletin; Honolulu, HI. Ever Green.

TenBruggencate, Jan. 1985 Sunday, February 24. Kokia trees: rare beautiful, fighting for survival. The Sunday Star-Bulletin and Advertiser; Honolulu, HI. A-14.

TenBruggencate, Jan. 1991 Saturday, May 25, 1991. Koki'o took a strange root back to its native Molokai. The HonoluluAdvertiser; Honolulu, HI. Final Edition. 1, A4.

TenBruggencate, Jan. 1996 Sunday, April 28, 1996. Rare plants find new life in lab. The Honolulu Advertiser; Honolulu, HI.

Reports

USFWS. 1998. Recovery Plan for Kokia cookei. Portland, OR: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. p.55 + appendices.

USFWS. 2001. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Species List. March 30, 2000. Honolulu: Unpublished. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. p.19.


  This profile was updated on 3/4/2010
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