Haha (Cyanea asarifolia)

views updated


Cyanea asarifolia

ListedFebruary 25, 1994
FamilyCampanulaceae (Bellflower)
DescriptionSparingly branched shrub with heart-shaped leaves and 30-40 slightly curved white flowers with purple stripes.
HabitatPockets of soil on sheer rock cliffs in lowland wet forests.
ThreatsPigs, rats, natural disaster, overcollecting, limited numbers.


This haha (Cyanea asarifolia ) is a sparingly branched shrub in the bellflower family that grows to a height of 1-3.3 ft (0.3-1.0 m). The heart-shaped leaves are 3.3-4.1 in (8.4-10.4 cm) long and 2.8-3.1 in (7.1-7.9 cm) wide, with leaf stalks 4.7-5.9 in (11.9-15.0 cm) long. Thirty to 40 flowers are clustered on a stalk about 1 in (2.5 cm) long, each having an individual stalk about 0.3 in (7.6 mm) in length. The slightly curved flowers are white with purple stripes, with wide spreading lobes. The five anthers have tufts of white hairs at the tips. The nearly spherical fruit is a dark purple berry. This species is distinguished from others of the genus that grow on Kauai by the shape of the leaf base, the leaf width in proportion to the length, and the presence of a leaf stalk.


C. asarifolia grows in pockets of soil on sheer rock cliffs in lowland wet forests at an elevation of approximately 1,080 ft (329 m). Associated plant species include ferns, manono, 'ohi'a, alona, and opuhe.


For more than 20 years C. asarifolia was known only from a population of five or six plants above the bed of Anahola stream on Kauai. When later attempts to locate the population were unsuccessful, the population was thought to be extirpated. A population of 14 mature plants and five seedlings was discovered in 1991 on state-owned land at the head-waters of the Wailua River in central Kauai.


C. asarifolia is threatened by stochastic extinction and reduced reproductive vigor due to the small number of existing individuals. Plants in the area in which the only currently known population occurs are vulnerable to occasional hurricanes, natural rockslides, and overcollecting for scientific purposes. Hurricane Iniki heavily damaged the population in 1992, directly or indirectly destroying all but four or five juvenile plants. Plants observed after Hurricane Iniki were frequently damaged by introduced slugs or rodents.

Conservation and Recovery

C. asarifolia has been successfully propagated and then grown in cultivation by National Tropical Botanical Garden; this institution also has seeds in storage. In 1995, Lyon Arboretum had 1,283 plants in the tissue culture lab and three individuals in their certified greenhouse. The Kauai District Division of Forestry and Wildlife has outplanted nine individuals of this species in the "blue hole" area of Mount Waialeale.


U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Regional Office, Division of Endangered Species
Eastside Federal Complex
911 N. E. 11th Ave.
Portland, Oregon 97232-4181
Telephone: (503) 231-6121

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 6307
P.O. Box 50167
Honolulu, Hawaii 96850
Telephone: (808) 541-2749


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 25 February 1994. "Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plant; Determination of Endangered or Threatened Status for 24 Plants from the Island of Kauai, HI." Federal Register 59 (38): 9304-9329.

About this article

Haha (Cyanea asarifolia)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article