Ha'iwale (Cyrtandra munroi)

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Cyrtandra munroi

ListedMay 15, 1992
FamilyGesneriaceae (African violet)
DescriptionA tropical shrub with white berries that are covered with fine hair.
HabitatRich, moist talus slopes in wet lowland tropical forests.
ThreatsHabitat destruction by introduced herbivorous mammals, and competing alien plants.


The Cyrtandra munroi (ha'iwale) is a shrub with opposite, elliptic leaves 3.7-8.3 in (9.5-21 cm) long, mostly smooth to moderately hairy on the upper surface, with velvety, rust-colored hairs underneath. The flowers are usually arranged in clusters of three on stalks emerging from the leaf axils. The white petals are fused into a tube, 0.6-0.8 in (15-20 mm) long. The white berries, covered with fine hair, are somewhat egg-shaped and 0.7-0.9 in (1.8-2.3 cm) long. The ha'iwale species is distinguished from other species of the genus by its broad opposite leaves, the length of the flower cluster stalks, the size of the flowers, and the amount of hair on various parts of the plant. Studies indicate that at least one as yet unidentified native pollinator is necessary for successful pollination of this plant. Seed dispersal may occur through birds that eat the fruits.


The ha'iwale typically grows on rich, moist talus (accumulation of rocky debris) slopes in wet, lowland, tropical forest with a canopy 10-130 ft (3-40 m) high at an elevation of 1,000-3,000 ft (300-900 m). Associated native species include, Diospyros, Metrosideros polymorpha, Hedyotis acuminata, Clermontia, Alyxia, Bobea, Coprosma, Dicranopteris, Frevcinetia, Melicope, Myrsine, Perrottetia, Pipturus, Psttosporum, Pleomele, Pouteria, Pneumatopteris, Psychotria, Sadteria, Scaevola, Xylosma, and other Cyrtandra species. Annual rainfall ranges from 60 to 200 in (150 to 500 cm). The substrate ranges from clay or organic muck over volcanic ash beds or young lava flows.


Historically, the ha'iwale was known from scattered localities from Lanaihale on Lanai and Makamakaole makaole on West Maui. The species was considered common in the Makamakaole area in 1971, but has not been found there since. The only known plant on West Maui was discovered in 1989 in Honolua Valley. Located about 5 mi (8 km) from the Makamakaole population, this discovery suggests that the historical distribution of the species was more widespread than previously thought. In 1991 two new populations were discovered on Lanai. One population of about 20 individuals was found in the Waiapaa and Kapohaku drainages, and a single plant was seen in the Maunalei drainage.


The major ongoing threat to this species is associated with the inherent risks of having such a small number of individuals. On Lanai, the strawberry guava and other invasive alien plants are competing with both populations, while the population of 20 individuals on Maui is being impacted by non-native deer.

Conservation and Recovery

A Recovery Plan was published for the endangered ha'iwale in 1995, within the context of other endangered plants that co-occur in its broader ecosystem. Its tiny surviving populations must be protected against damage caused by deer. This could be done by securing the rare plants within secure fencing, or by eliminating the non-native deer from its critical habitat. The abundance of invasive alien plants must also be reduced in the critical habitat of the ha'iwale. Its populations should be monitored, and research undertaken into its biology and habitat needs, with the aim of developing management practices appropriate to maintaining or enhancing its habitat.


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Pacific Islands Ecoregion
300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 3-122
Box 50088, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96850
Telephone: (808) 541-3441
Fax: (808) 541-3470

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


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1995. "Lana'i Plant Cluster Recovery Plan." U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Portland, OR.