Hawaii Biological Survey's


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78. Koki`o

Scientific name: Kokia cookei

Hawaiian Name: Koki‘o

Classification: Phylum: Dicotyledonae. Family: Malvaceae.

Origin: Endemic.

Status: Endangered.

Distribution: Moloka‘i.

Map: --

One of the rarest plants in the world, this small hibiscus no longer exists in the wild. When first discvered in the 1860s, only 3 plants were found in the wild. All three died by 1918, but cuttings from a cultivated plant in a yard on Moloka‘i were taken before a fire desoyed that plant.

In a last-ditch effort to save the plant from extinction, the cuttings were grafted onto its sister species, Kokia dryanarioides and Kokia kauaiensis. The grafting was successful and this is how it survives today, unable to produce viable seeds.

   Photo by Clyde Imada