Haha (Cyanea procera)
|Listed||October 8, 1992|
|Description||Palmlike, stalkless, flowering tree with berries.|
|Habitat||Steep rock walls with thin soil on the southwest slope of a narrow gulch.|
|Threats||Habitat destruction; predation by feral or domestic animals.|
Cyanea procera is a palmlike tree in the bellflower family. It has both flowers and berries and can grow to a height of 10-30 ft (3-9.1 m). C. procera 's stalkless, lanceolate leaves feature tiny hardened teeth along the margins. Each flower cluster has a stalk 1-1.6 in (2.5-4.1 cm) long, and each individual flower has a hypanthium that is topped by shallow triangular calyx lobes. The purplish corolla forms a nearly upright or slightly curved tube; this tube ends in five downwardly curving lobes that make the flower appear one-lipped. The berries are ellipse shaped. This species can be distinguished from other species of the genus and from C. mannii by its growth habit, its sessile leaves, and the single-lipped appearance of the corolla.
C. procera individuals have been found in wet 'ohi'a-dominated forest at an elevation of 3,480 ft (1,061 m). The growth site is steep rock walls with thin soil on the southwest slope of a narrow gulch on Molokai. Associated plant species are Asplenium sp., Coprosma ochracea (pilo), Pipturus albidus, and Touchardia latifolia.
C. procera was known from a historical site in the Kamalo region of East Molokai. Another occurrence was discovered in 1987 on private land at Puu O Kaeha. There were three known populations with a total of eight individuals in 1995.
Goats have been observed in the vicinity of this species. Because only eight plants of C. procera are known to exist, the species is especially vulnerable to extinction from landslides and other random natural events. Like other Cyanea species and related genera, C. procera is threatened by predation by rats. Habitat degradation by feral pigs is also a potential threat.
Conservation and Recovery
The plant fauna of Molokai has currently fallen vulnerable to habitat degradation and/or predation by feral or domestic animals (axis deer, goats, pigs, sheep, and cattle); competition for space, light, water, and nutrients by naturalized, exotic species; habitat loss due to fires; predation by rats; human recreational activities; and injuries caused by military exercises. Overgrazing by axis deer and goats has irreparably damaged much of the native vegetation of Molokai and Hawaii.
Since the mid-1850s cattle ranching on Molokai has played a significant role in reducing areas of native vegetation to vast pastures of alien grasses. In 1960 about 61% of Molokai's lands were devoted to grazing, primarily in the western and central sections of the island. Cattle degrade the habitat by trampling and feeding on vegetation, eventually exposing the ground cover and thereby increasing soil vulnerability to erosion. Red erosional scars resulting from decades of cattle disturbance, exacerbated by other feral ungulate activities, are still evident on West Molokai and the upper elevations of East Molokai. Cattle facilitate the spread of alien grasses and other plants.
Cattle ranching was succeeded in the 1920s by pineapple cultivation. Most of the land used for this agricultural activity had already been altered through the decades of cattle ranching. However, pineapple cultivation contributed to a high degree of erosion until its decline in the 1970s.
To improve the quality of vegetation in these natural areas, the State of Hawaii designated a single protected area—called the Molokai Forest Reserve—along the upper elevation mesic to wet forests of East Molokai. This reserve accounts for 30% of Molokai's land area.
U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Regional Office, Division of Endangered Species
Eastside Federal Complex
911 N. E. 11th Ave.
Portland, Oregon 97232-4181
Pacific Remote Islands Ecological Services Field Office
300 Ala Moana Blvd., Room 3-122
P. O. Box 50088
Honolulu, Hawaii 96850
Telephone: (808) 541-1201
Fax: (808) 541-1216
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 8 October 1992. "Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Determination of Endangered or Threatened Status for 16 Plants from the Island of Molokai, Hawaii." Federal Register 57 (196): 46325-46340.