Haha (Cyanea recta)
|October 10, 1996
|Unbranched shrub bearing five to seven purple or white and purple striped flowers.
|Lowland wet or mesic 'ohi'a forest or shrubland.
|Bark removal by rats; habitat degradation by feral pigs; browsing by goats; competition with the alien plant species.
Cyanea recta, a member of the bellflower family, is an unbranched shrub 3.3-4.9 ft (1-1.5 m) tall. The narrowly elliptic leaves are 4.7-11 in (12-28 cm) long and 0.5-2 in (1.3-5 cm) wide, with minutely toothed margins. The upper surface is green and smooth, while the lower surface is whitish green to pale green, and smooth or hairy. Five to seven flowers are arranged on an inflorescence stalk 3-4 in (7.6-10.2 cm) long, each having an individual stalk 0.2-0.7 in (0.5-1.8 cm) in length. The densely hairy flowers are purple or white with purple longitudinal stripes, 1.2-1.6 in (3-4 cm) long, and 0.1-0.2 in (0.25-0.5 cm) wide, with spreading lobes. The staminal column is smooth or sparsely hairy at the base. The anthers are covered with minute epidermal projections, the lower two with tufts of white hairs at the tip. The fruit is an egg-shaped, purple berry. C. recta is distinguished from other species in the genus that grow on Kauai by the following collective characteristics: horizontal or ascending inflorescence, narrowly elliptic leaves, flat leaf margins, and purple berries.
C. recta grows in lowland wet or mesic 'ohi'a forest or shrubland, usually in gulches or on slopes at elevations of 1,300-3,070 ft (396-936 m). Associated plant species include kopiko, Antidesma sp. (hame), Cheirodendron platyphyllum (lapalapa), Cibotium sp. (hapu'u), and Diplazium sp.
C. recta was known historically from scattered locations in northeastern and central Kauai, including upper Hanalei Valley, Waioli Valley, Hanapepe Valley, Kalalau cliffs, Wainiha Valley, Makaleha Mountains, Limahuli Valley, Powerline Trail, and the Lehua Makanoe-Alakai area. Six current populations on state and private land total approximately 500-1,500 individuals. More than 150 plants occur in the upper Waioli Valley, several hundred plants in the Wainiha Valley, about 123 in the Makaleha Mountains, fewer than 50 in the Limahuli Valley, a single plant along the Powerline Trail, and an unknown number of plants at the back of Hanalei Valley.
The major threats to C. recta are bark removal by rats; habitat degradation by feral pigs; browsing by goats; and competition with the alien plant species lantana, thimbleberry, Koster's curse, fireweed, and hilo grass.
Although populations of this species are threatened by rat and goat predation, habitat modification by pigs and goats, and competition with alien plant species, the wider distribution of populations through a relatively large area and greater numbers of individual plants reduce the likelihood that this species will become extinct in the near future.
The Makaleha Mountains population of C. recta is threatened by feral pigs. Pigs also constitute a potential threat to the Wainiha Valley populations. Habitat degradation reported to occur in areas near these populations, if not controlled, may become a problem for these occurrences.
The Makaleha Mountains population of C. recta is threatened by goats. Browsing damage by goats has been verified for C. recta.
Rat damage to the stems of species of Cyanea has been reported in the Makaleha Mountains, Waioli Valley, and at the base of Mount Waialeale, and this rodent activity poses a threat to the populations of C. recta that occur there.
Erosion, landslides, and rock slides—natural events that kill individual plants and destroy habitat—are especially dangerous threats to the two largest populations of C. recta.
Conservation and Recovery
The National Tropical Botanical Garden has collected and is storing C. recta seeds.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Regional Office, Division of Endangered Species
Eastside Federal Complex
911 N.E. 11th Ave.
Portland, Oregon 97232-4181
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1988. "Kauai II: Addendum to the Recovery Plan for the Kauai Plant Cluster." U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Portland, Oregon. 84+pp.