Ha'iwale (Cyrtandra tintinnabula)

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Cyrtandra tintinnabula

ListedMarch 4, 1994
FamilyGesneriaceae (African violet)
DescriptionShrub with opposite, stalked, elliptical or oval, papery textured yellow-brown leaves, and three to six flower clusters.
HabitatDense koa, 'ohi'a, and tree ferndominated lowland wet forests at elevations between 2,100 and 3,400 ft (640 and 1,036 m).
ThreatsHabitat destruction by feral pigs; limited numbers.


This ha'iwale, Cyrtandra tintinnabula, is a shrub, 3.3-6.6 ft (1.0-2.0 m) tall with opposite, stalked, elliptical or oval, papery-textured leaves 5-10 in (12.7-25.4 cm) long and 2-4.8 in (5.1-12.2 cm) wide. Leaves, especially the lower surfaces, have yellowish brown hairs. Flower clusters, densely covered with long soft hairs, are comprised of three to six flowers, a main stalk 0.4-0.7 in (1.0-1.8 cm) long, individual flower stalks 0.2-0.6 in (5.1-1.5 cm) long, and leaflike bracts. The green, bell-shaped calyx is about 0.4 in (1 cm) long and has triangular lobes. The hairy white corolla, about 0.5 in (1.3 cm) long and about 0.2 in (5.1 cm) in diameter, is divided into five lobes, each about 0.1 in (.3 cm) long. Fruit and seeds have not been observed. This species differs from C. giffardii by its growth habit, its larger leaves, and its shorter flower stalks.


C. tintinnabula grows in lowland wet forest dominated by dense Acacia koa (koa), Metrosiderospolymorpha ('ohi'a), and Cibotium (tree fern) at elevations of 2,100-3,400 ft (640-1,036 m). Several other Cyrtandra (ha'iwale) and Hedyotis (pili) species are associated with C. tintinnabula.


Historically, C. tintinnabula was found only on the island of Hawaii on the northern to eastern slopes of Mauna Kea.

Three populations are known to occur on state land of the island of Hawaii, extending over approximately 6 sq mi (15.5 sq km) from Kilau Stream to Honohina Gulch, and containing 18 known individuals.


Rooting and browsing by feral pigs directly damage and disturb the habitat of Cyrtandra, and break its weak and delicate stems. Indirectly, pigs disturb native vegetation and allow the invasion of alien taxa, which in turn rapidly become established. Continued disturbance exacerbates the alien plant problem and eventually precludes the survivability of native taxa. Because much of the native habitat is lost, appropriate pollinator(s) may be absent as well. The loss of native vectors is a probable cause for the taxon's demise. Small numbers of extant individuals with limited distributions restrict the gene pool and depress reproductive vigor. They also render random events a serious threat.

Conservation and Recovery

The National Tropical Botanical Garden has propagated the taxon, but in order to prevent possible extinction of this taxon, maintenance of ex situ genetic stock is necessary. The 18 known individuals should be protected from ungulates, particularly pigs, and encroachment of alien plants. Propagation and outplanting of ex situ stock will likely be needed in order to establish a sufficient number of populations and plants for recovery. Research should be conducted into the species' pollination vectors.


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

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Pacific Remote Islands Ecological Services Field Office
P.O. Box 50088
Honolulu, Hawaii 96850-5000
Telephone: (808) 541-3441
Fax: (808) 541-3470


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 4 March 1994. "Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plant; Determination of Endangered or Threatened Status for 21 Plants from the Island of Hawaii, State of Hawaii." Federal Register 59 (43): 10305-10325.