Cyanea crispa

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Cyanea crispa

No Common Name

ListedMarch 28, 1994
FamilyCampanulaceae (Bellflower)
DescriptionUnbranched shrub with broad, oval, toothed leaves, and clusters of three to eight fuzzy, pale magenta flowers.
HabitatSteep, open mesic forests to gentle slopes or moist gullies of closed wet forests.
ThreatsHabitat alteration and suspected predation by rats, slugs, and feral pigs; competition with noxious alien plants.


Cyanea crispa, a member of the bellflower family, is an unbranched shrub with leaves clustered at the ends of succulent stems. The broad oval leaves, 12-30 in (30.5-76.2 cm) long and 3.5-6.3 in (8.9-16 cm) wide, have undulating, smooth or toothed leaf margins. Each leaf is on a stalk 0.3-1.6 in (0.8-4.1 cm) long. Clusters of three to eight fuzzy flowers grow on stalks 0.8-1.2 in (2-3 cm) long, with each flower borne on a stalk 0.4-0.8 in (1-2 cm) long. The oval or oblong calyx lobes often overlap at their bases and are 0.2-0.5 in (0.5-1.3 cm) long. The fused petals, 1.6-2.4 in (4.1-6.1 cm) long and fuzzy, are pale magenta with darker longitudinal stripes. The fruits are spherical berries 0.4 in (1 cm) in diameter that contain many minute, dark seeds. C. crispa is distinguished from other species in this endemic Hawaiian genus by its leaf shape, distinct calyx lobes, and the length of the flowers and stalks of flower clusters.

This species was observed in flower in April 1930; in 1998, it was observed fruiting in June and September.


C. crispa is found at elevations between 600 and 2,400 ft (183 and 732 m) in habitats ranging from steep, open mesic forests to gentle slopes or moist gullies of closed wet forests. Associated plants include common Cyrtandra species (haiwale), papala kepau, and Touchardia latifolia (olona).


C. crispa was known historically from scattered locations throughout the upper elevations of the Koolau Mountains of Oahu from Kaipapau Valley in the north to Waialae Iki Ridge in the southeast. The seven extant populations, scattered over a distance of 19 mi (31 km), contained about 40 total individuals in 1996. Twenty-six plants occurred at Hidden Valley, one at Palolo Valley, one at Kapakahi Gulch, one at Pia Valley, five at the Kaipapau-Kawainui summit divide, four at Upper Aina Haina, and only a few at Moanalua Valley. These populations are on state land, private land leased to the Department of Defense on the Kawailoa Training Area, and normal private land.


The major threats to C. crispa are habitat alteration and suspected predation by rats, slugs, and feral pigs; competition with noxious alien plants like kulmi, Koster's Curse, and strawberry guava; and the risk of extinction through random natural events. Reduced reproductive vigor due to the small number of remaining individuals, their limited gene pool, and their restricted distributions is another significant threat.

Conservation and Recovery

The Division of Forestry and Wildlife has undertaken a pig control program in Hidden Valley; however, a site visit in September of 1997 revealed abundant pig signs, with many individuals ofC. crispa defoliated or dead. This species is being propagated at the Lyon Arboretum and the National Tropical Botanical Garden.


U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Regional Office, Division of Endangered Species
Eastside Federal Complex
911 N. E. 11th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97232-4181

Pacific Islands Ecological Services Field Office
300 Ala Moana Blvd., Rm. 6307
Honolulu, Hawaii 96850
Telephone: (808) 541-2749
Fax: (808) 541-2756


U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 28 March 1994. "Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Endangered Status for 11 Plant Species from the Koolau Mountain Range, Island of Oahu, HI."Federal Register 59 (59): 14482-14492.