CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Flueggea neowawraea

S. Perlman

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CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Flueggea neowawraea

Common Name: 
W. Hayden
Growth Habit: 
CPC Number: 


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 Fish & WildLife

Flueggea neowawraeaenlarge
Photographer: S. Perlman
Image Owner: National Tropical Botanical Garden

Flueggea neowawraeaenlarge
Photographer: S. Perlman
Image Owner: National Tropical Botanical Garden

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

Flueggea neowawraea

Flueggea neowawraea, a member of the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae) is the only member of its genus in Hawai段. It is most often dioecious (bearing either male or female flowers) tree that requires cross-pollination in order to produce viable seed. However, there is evidence that this species is occasionally monoecious, as cultivated, isolated trees have been reported to bear fruit. (Wood et al. 2002).

This tree can grow up to 30 meters (98 ft) tall and 2 meters (7 ft) in diameter, with papery thin leaves that are oval in shape (USFWS 1999). The wood of F. neowawraea is known for its extraordinary hardness, and was used by Hawaiians for weaponry. Its flowers, both male and female, have green sepals with brownish tips.

The numbers of individuals of F. neowawraea are rapidly declining. In 2001, 100 to 170 individuals were recorded (USFWS 2001). In 2002, just 70 individuals were located (Wood et al. 2002).

Distribution & Occurrence

State Range
State Range of  Flueggea neowawraea
  F. neowawraea is found in dry to mesic forests, 250 to 1,000 meters ( 820 to 3,281 ft) elevation (Wagner et al. 1999).

Associated species of F. neowawraea include Aleurites moluccana (kukui), Antidesma pulvinatum (hame), Bobea sp. (ahakea), Psydrax odoratum (alahee), Nestegis sandwicensis (olopua), Rauvolfia sandwicensis (hao), and Streblus pendulina (aiai) (USFWS 1999).

  Historically, F. neowawraea was known from Kaua段, O誕hu, Moloka段, Maui, and Hawai段, but is now restricted to the northwestern part of Kaua段, Wai誕nae Mountains of O誕hu, southwestern slopes of Haleakala on Maui, and the Kona Coast of Hawai段 (Wood et al. 2002).

Number Left
  Number of Populations: 30 (USFWS 2001)
Number of Plants: 70 (Wood et al. 2002)


Global Rank:  
Guide to Global Ranks
Federal Status:  
Guide to Federal Status
Recovery Plan:  

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

Conservation, Ecology & Research

Ecological Relationships
  F. neowawraea is presumed to be insect-pollinated and its seeds are air dispersed (Sakai et al. 1995). Although F. neowawraea are predominantly dioecious, there is evidence that this species can be monoecious, cultivated trees that are isolated occasionally bear fruit (Wood et al. 2002).

  As stated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS 2002), threats to this species include:

The main threat to F. neowawraea is the black twig borer, (Xylosandrus compactus) which attacks young shoots and branches, eventually killing portions of the tree until the health of the plant declines to the point of death. This borer has affected all known plants of this species to varying degrees.

The loss of habitat, degradation of habitat by feral goats, pigs and cattle, fire, drought, herbivory by rats and slugs, invasive plants, and a disrupted breeding biology also threaten F. neowawraea.

Current Research Summary
  There is ongoing research (University of Hawai段/ National Tropical Botanical Garden) that is surveying all wild living individuals of F. neowawraea that still remain on Kaua段 to determine their health and sex. In addition, DNA extraction studies (University of Hawai段) have shown that individuals from Kaua段 are more genetically variable from the other island populations (including O誕hu, Maui, and Hawai段). During the research, it was also found that some wild trees have a greater resistance to the coffee twig borer than other (Wood et al. 2002).

One plant of F. neowawraea has been fenced on the Navy痴 Laulualei Naval Reservation (O誕hu) to protect it from cattle and feral pigs. A program of invasive plant removal within the exclosure is ongoing.

Current Management Summary
  A report entitled 填S Army Garrison Hawai段, O誕hu Training Areas, Natural Resource Management Final Report has been completed by the Army Environmental Staff. This report consists of detailed management plants and descriptions of completed actions for each endangered species including F. neowawraea that occurs on Army land. The Army Environmental staff has also conducted intensive rat control around the Keawaula population in order to collect seed and propagate it in their seed house (USFWS 1999).

The National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) currently has ex situ holdings of 2,314 seeds in its seed bank, which represents two out of the 30 populations. In addition, there are 43 plants that represent two populations growing in the botanical garden.

Pahole mid-elevation nursery has close to 40 seeds and one plant in its nursery. The Lyon Arboretum has attempted micropropagation but has not yet been successful (USFWS 1999).

In April, 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. Conduct further research into, and implement control methods for the coffee twig borer because it is one of the most important threats to F. neowawraea. A number of parasitoids have been introduced to control the beetle, but none of them have survived.
2. Construct exclosures to protect against feral ungulates.
3. Control competing alien plant species such as Lantana camara (lantana), Psidium cattleianum (strawberry guava), Psidium guajava (common guava), and Schinus terebinthifolius (Christmas berry). Testing the influence of weeding should be done before action is taken.
4. Maintain an adequate genetic stock. Propagation materials should be collected from all wild founders immediately due to the low numbers of F. neowawraea.
5. Enhance wild populations and establish new populations. After propagated material is available, and after fencing and weeding are underway, outplanting should be done to enhance wild populations. New populations should be established within the historic range of wild populations.
6. Cross-pollinate trees to ensure seed set. Since F. neowawraea bares only male and female flowers, cross-pollination should be done to produce viable seed.
7. Protect wild plants from fire. Management actions should be implemented to protect F. neowawraea by the Army on the Makua Military Reservation and the Schofield Barracks Military Reservation, where current exercises could ignite fires.
8. Conduct pollination biology studies.
9. Map genetic diversity in the surviving populations of F. neowawraea.
Recommendations derived from M.H. Chapin, M. Maunder, K.R. Wood, and USFWS (1999).

Ex Situ Needs
  1. Establish secure ex situ stock with full founder representation.
2. Develop proper horticultural protocols and pest management for F. neowawraea.
3. Survey ex situ holdings and conduct molecular fingerprinting.
Recommendations derived from M.H. Chapin and M. Maunder.


Books (Single Authors)

Sherff, E.E. 1939. Additional Studies of the Hawaiian Euphorbiaceae. Studies of American Plants v. 17 no. 6. Field Museum of Natural History. Publication 453.

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.

Journal Articles

Hayden, W.J. 1987. The Identity of the Genus Neowawraea (Euphorbiaceae). Brittonia. 39, 2: 268-277.

Levin, G.A. 1986. Systematic Foliar Morphology of Phyllanthoideae (Euphorbiaceae). I. Conspectus. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden. 73: 29-85.

Levin, G.A. 1986. Systematic Foliar Morphology of Phyllanthoideae (Euphorbiaceae). II. Conspectus. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden. 73: 86-98.

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. 1993. Proposed Endangered status for 12 plants from the Hawaiian Islands. Federal Register. 58, 176: 48012-48030.

USFWS. 1994. Endangered Status for 12 Plants From the Hawaiian Islands. Federal Register. 59, 217: 56333-56351.

USFWS. 2000. Determinations of Prudency and Designations of Critical Habitat for Plant Species From the Islands of Maui and Kahoolawe, Hawaii. Federal Register. 65, 243: 143.

USFWS. 2000. Determinations of Whether Designation of Critical Habitat is Prudent for 81 Plants and Proposed Designations for 76 Plants From the Islands of Kauai and Niihau, Hawaii; [Proposed Rule]. Federal Register. 65, 216: 66807-66885.

USFWS. 2002. Designations of Critical Habitat for Plant Species From the Island of Hawaii, Hawaii. Federal Register. 67, 102: 36968-37016.

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

USFWS. 2002. Revised Determinations of Prudency and Proposed Designations of Critical Habitat for Plant Species From the Island of Molokai, Hawaii. Federal Register. 67, 66: 16492-16579.

USFWS. 2002. Revised Determinations of Prudency and Proposed Designations of Critical Habitat for Plant Species from the Islands of Kauai and Niihau, Hawaii. Federal Register. 67, 18: 3940-4098.

USFWS. 2002. Revised Determinations of Prudency and Proposed Designations of Critical Habitat for Plant Species From the Islands of Maui and Kahoolawe. Federal Register. 67, 64: 15856-15987.


MISC. 2001. Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC), Pulling Together Initiative. 2002 Project Proposal. Submitted to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. p.14.

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

USFWS. 1999. Recovery Plan for Multi-Island Plants. Portland, Oregon: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. p.206 + appendices.

Wood, K.R.; LeGrande, M. 2002. Biological Inventory of Upper Pohakuao Valley North & South Falls Region, Na Pali Coast State Park, Kaua'i, Hawai'i, with information concerning the distribution and abundance of Flueggea neowawraea (Euphorbiaceae) & Oceanodroma castro (Hydrobatidae). Special Report Prepared for the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of State Parks. p.21.

  This profile was updated on 3/4/2010
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