CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Pleomele hawaiiensis

Photographer:
Peter Van Dyke

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CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Pleomele hawaiiensis


Family: 
Agavaceae  
Common Names: 
hala pepe, halapepe
Author: 
O. Degener & I. Degener
Growth Habit: 
Tree, Subshrub
CPC Number: 
7636

Distribution
Protection
Conservation
References


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

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


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

 
Pleomele hawaiiensis


This species is a member of the agave family, and historically had many uses by native Hawaiians. Its large yellow flowers were used for leis, wood was used for carved images and hula offerings by native Hawaiians. Currently, these plants are experiencing poor reproductive success in the wild, which may be attributed to a number of causes. Fortunately, germination and cutting methods have proven successful in greenhouse settings. This has the potential to provide large numbers of plants for use by the general public as a landscaping plant and, of equal importance, to supplement wild populations. Unfortunately, the seeds of the hala pepe do not store well, making seed banking an unviable option in any attempt to save this species from extinction. (HNPP Database 2002)

Hala pepe is a branching tree that can grow up to 20 ft (6 m) tall. Large leaves (up to 15 inches long) cluster spirally at branch tips and large cluster of flowers with 3 yellow sepals and three yellow petals that are constricted at the base. Fruit appear as red berries that are up to 0.5 inches long. All of these characteristics have made this species a sought-after ornamental species.

Distribution & Occurrence

State Range
  Hawaii
State Range of  Pleomele hawaiiensis
Habitat
  This species typically grows on old aa lava flows at elevations of 1000-2700 ft (300-800 m) in diverse lowland dry forests. (USFWS 1996)

Associated species include: ‘ohi’a, lama, mamane, Sydrax odoratum (alahe’e), huehue, naio, olopua, Nototrichium sandwicense, Sida fallax, Erythrina sandwicensis, Santalum sp., Osteomeles anthyllidifolia, Caesalpinia kavaiensis, Colubrina oppositifolia, Neraudia ovata, Capparis sanwichiana, Bidens micrantha ssp. ctenophylla and Nothocestrum breviflorum (USFWS 1996).

Distribution
  This species is found on the leeward side of the island of Hawaii. (Wagner et al. 1999)

Number Left
  There are eight populations known to exist containing at total of 250 to 300 individuals. One to three are in the Puu Waawaa region of Hualalai on state-leased and private land, two are in the Kaloko/Kaloao area on private land, two are in the Kapua/Kahuku are on private land, and one is on Holei Pali within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. (USFWS 1995)

Protection

Global Rank:  
G1
 
5/15/1990
Guide to Global Ranks
Federal Status:  
LE
 
10/10/1996
Guide to Federal Status
Recovery Plan:  
No
 

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

Conservation, Ecology & Research

Ecological Relationships
  None known.

Threats
  As stated by the Fish and Wildlife Service at the time of listing in 1996 (USFWS 1996), threats include:
• Residential and recreational development
• Habitat destruction by cattle, pigs, sheep and goats
• Fire (destroyed a large part of a Puu Waawaa population in 1986)
• Exotic invasives
• Habitat change from volcanic activity
• Lack of reproduction in six of the eight remaining populations

Current Research Summary
  None known.

Current Management Summary
  This species occurs naturally on a privately-owned site. A cattle fence has been in place here since 1950, and the site has been actively managed since 1996. At this site, management has actively removed the invasive grass, Pennisetum setaceum, thus reducing wildfire risk in the area, and has also actively removed goats, feral hogs, stray cattle, and controlled the rodent population. Additionally, numerous native understory plants have been planted. (USFWS 2002)

Research Management Needs
  • Monitoring of known populations is needed in order to determine why reproduction is not successful in most population.
• Relocation of historically known populations is possible.
• Protection of known populations, including fencing to reduce the impacts of introduced animals and invasive species removal to reduce the threat of detrimental wildfires.

Ex Situ Needs
  • Propagation and maintenance of ex situ plants should continue.
• More research is needed on long term seed storage techniques.

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.

Electronic Sources

(2002). Hawaiian Native Plant Propagation Database. [Web-based, searchable database] College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources: University of Hawaii at Manoa. http://pdcs.ctahr.hawaii.edu:591/hawnprop/botlist.htm. Accessed: 2002.

Yee, J. (2000). Native Hawaiian Plants. [Web site] Personal Web site. http://home.hawaii.rr.com/yee/nativeplants.html. Accessed: 2002.

Journal Articles

USFWS. 1995. Proposed endangered status for thirteen plants from the island of Hawaii, state of Hawaii. Federal Register. 60, 185: 48377-48392.

USFWS. 1996. Determination of endangered status for thirteen plants from the island of Hawaii, state of Hawaii. Federal Register. 61, 198: 53137-53153.

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

Reports

USFWS. 1996. Big Island Plant Cluster Recovery Plan. Portland, Oregon: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. p.202 +.

USFWS. 1998. Big Island II: Addendum to the Recovery Plan for the Big Island Plant Cluster. Portland, OR: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. p.80 + appendices.


  This profile was updated on 3/4/2010
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