CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Kokia drynarioides

Photographer:
Peter Van Dyke

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CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Kokia drynarioides


Family: 
Malvaceae  
Common Names: 
hau Hele'ula, Hawaiian tree Cotton, koki'o
Author: 
(Seem.) Lewton
Growth Habit: 
Tree, Shrub
CPC Number: 
2386

Distribution
Protection
Conservation
References


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Kokia drynarioidesenlarge
Photographer: Peter Van Dyke
pvandyke[at]bishopmuseum.org
Image Owner: Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden

Kokia drynarioidesenlarge
Photographer: Peter Van Dyke
pvandyke[at]bishopmuseum.org
Image Owner: Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden


Kokia drynarioides is Fully Sponsored
Primary custodian for this plant in the CPC National Collection of Endangered Plants is: 

 
Kokia drynarioides


The Hawaii tree cotton is one of four species in the genus Kokia and the only one found on the island of Hawaii. The sap of this incredibly rare tree has been used by native Hawaiians to make red dyes for fishnets and its bark was used to treat thrush. In the early 1900's, botanists became concerned about the survival of this species and collected several pounds of seed that was later distributed to various gardens and arboreta for germination. (USFWS 1994) Despite this, koki'o has become increasingly rare so that there are now less than ten trees known to exist in the wild. This decline has had severe impacts on organisms that rely on the species, such as the now- endangered nectar drinking honeycreepers which depend on these trees for food. (PIRG 1998)

Distribution & Occurrence

State Range
  Hawaii
State Range of  Kokia drynarioides
Habitat
  Native dry forests on the island of Hawaii that occur on rough lava with a thin, highly drained soil layer at elevations of 455 to 1915 meters. (USFWS 1994)

Associated species include: Chenopodium oahuensse, Dodonaea viscose, Dracaena hawaiiensis, Erythrina sandwicensis, Mezoneuron kavaiense, Myrsine lanaiensis, Nothocestrum latifolium, Pennisetum setaceum, Nototrichium sandwicense, Planchonella auahiensis, Reynoldsia sandwicensis, Sophora chrysophylla, and Xylosma hawaiiense var. hillebrandii. (USFWS 1994)

Distribution
  Endemic to the leeward side of the island of Hawaii. (USFWS 1994)

Number Left
  There are less than ten trees left in the wild in three small populations. (PIRG 1998)

Protection

Global Rank:  
G1
 
5/29/1997
Guide to Global Ranks
Federal Status:  
LE
 
12/4/1984
Guide to Federal Status
Recovery Plan:  
Yes
 
5/6/1994

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

Conservation, Ecology & Research

Ecological Relationships
  This species is a food plant for the nectar drinking honeycreepers of Hawaii, which have also become endangered as a result of declining numbers of Koki'o. (PIRG 2002)

Threats
  As stated by the USFWS recovery plan (1994), threats include:
Cattle browsing and trampling
Rodent seed predation
Competition with invading exotic species, especially fountaingrass (Pennisetum setaceum), which has contributed to an increase in the size and frequency of detrimental wildfires in the region.
Possible hybridization w/ other species in the Kokia genus under cultivation
Volcanic eruption
Drought
Rock slides

Current Research Summary
  None known.

Current Management Summary
  This species is cultivated by a number of gardens and arboreta in Hawaii.

Research Management Needs
  Acquire management rights for lands essential to the continued existence of the species
Terminate grazing leases on this land and remove livestock from it
Fence the area to protect the trees from neighboring domestic and feral animals
Initiate and maintain controls for the insects and rodents that eat t the seeds
Remove fountain grass
Monitor the population

Ex Situ Needs
  Maintain a cultivated population to preserve the existing gene pool
Seed bank seeds
Artificially propagate trees for reintroduction programs

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.

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

ESIS. (1998). Endangered Species System (ESIS): Fish and Wildlife Exchange. [Web site;] Virginia Tech. http://fwie.fw.vt.edu/WWW/esis/. 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.

PIRG. (1998). Hau Hele 'Ula Koki'o (Hawaiian tree cotton). [Web site] Public Interest Research Groups. http://www.pirg.org/reports/enviro/wildlife/hauhele.htm. 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.

Garnett, W. 1990. Plants in the National Collection of the Center for Plant Conservation growing at Waimea Arboretum Botanical Garden. Notes from Waimea Arboretum & Botanical Garden. 17, 2: 4-16.

Lewton, F.L. 1912. Kokia: a new genus of Hawaiian trees. Smithsonian Misc., Collections. 60, 5: 1-4.

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. 1983. Three Plants. Endangered Species Technical Bulletin. 8, 10: 4.

USFWS. 1984. Determination of Endangered Status and Critical habitat for Kokia drynarioides (koki'o). Federal Register. 49, 234: 47397-47401.

USFWS. 1985. Rare Hawaiian Tree Listed as Endangered. Endangered Species Technical Bulletin. 10, 1: 1.

Newspaper Articles

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

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

Whitten, Harry. 1985 January 14. The Rare Hawaiian Gardenia. Honolulu Star-Bulletin; Honolulu.

Reports

St. John, H. 1981. Rare endemic plants of the Hawaiian Islands. Honolulu, HI: Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. p.74.

USFWS. 1994. Recovery Plan for Caesalpinia kavaiensis and Kokia drynarioides. Portland, OR: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. p.82 + appendices.

USFWS. 2002. Pacific Islands Project Highlights: Kona Dryland Forest Project. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Pacific Islands. Web page.


  This profile was updated on 9/28/2010
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