Common Name: Ma’o hau hele, Hawaiian Hibiscus
Origin/Habitat: Rainforests of the Hawaiian Islands.
Threats: Habitat loss due to human development, competition from invasive plant species.
Current Status: Critically Endangered.
Description: Hibiscus brackenridgei is the state flower of Hawaii. It is a small shrub to a large tree that can grow up to 30 feet in its natural habitat. It grows on all of the Hawaiian Islands except Ni’ihau and Kaho’olawe. However, it is not common on any of the islands. It has a large yellow flower with a maroon center in late spring and early summer. Its numbers have declined in recent decades due to habitat degradation from development and invasion from exotic plant and animal species. Less than 60 plants remain in the wild, however conservation and horticultural interests have led it to be a popular plant for home and botanic gardens.
Photos: Rachel Cobb