|October 10, 1996
|Slightly erect to prostrate subshrub; flowers lack petals and grow in open branched clusters.
|On steep slopes in a closed koa-'ohi'a lowland to montane mesic forest.
|Habitat degradation by feral pigs and goats, direct destruction of plants by goats, competition with the alien plants molasses grass and prickly Florida blackberry.
Schiedea stellarioides, also known as laulihilihi, a slightly erect to prostrate subshrub in the pink family, grows to a height between 1-2 ft (0.3-0.6 m) and has branched stems and internodes generally 1.4 to 2.5 in (3.5-6.3 cm) long. The opposite leaves are very slender to oblong-elliptic, 1.1-3.2 in (2.8-8.1 cm) long, 0.1-0.5 in (0.25-1.3 cm) wide, and one-veined. The perfect flowers lack petals and occur in open branched clusters. The inflorescence ranges from 6 to 12.6 in (15.2 to 32 cm) long. The flower stalks are 0.28-0.4 in (0.7-1 cm) long, and the narrowly egg-shaped sepals are 0.11-0.13 in (0.31-0.33 cm) long. The flowers contain ten stamens, three styles, and a two-lobed nectary. The capsular fruits are 0.09-0.13 in (0.2-0.33 cm) long and contain tiny, dark brown, circular to kidney-shaped and slightly wrinkled seeds. This species is distinguished from others of the genus that grow on Kauai by the number of veins in the leaves, shape of the leaves, presence of a leaf stalk, length of the flower cluster, and shape of the seed.
The sole population of approximately 500-1,000 S. stellarioides individuals is found between 2,000 and 3,680 ft (609.6 and 1,121.6 m) elevation on steep slopes in a closed koa-'ohi'a lowland to montane mesic forest. The plants are scattered in an area measuring approximately 1.25 mi by 0.2 mi (2 km by 0.3 km). Associated plant species include 'a'ali'i, alani, 'uki'uki, po'ola nui, Mariscus sp., and pukiawe.
Historically, S. stellarioides was known on Kauai from the sea cliffs of Hanakapiai Beach, the Kaholuamano-Opaewela region, the ridge between Waialae and Nawaimaka valleys, and Haupu Range.
This species is now known only from the ridge between Waialae and Nawaimaka valleys on state land, justone-half mile northwest of the Kaholuamano-Opaewela region.
The primary threats to S. stellarioides include habitat degradation by feral pigs and goats, direct destruction of plants by goats, competition with the alien plants molasses grass and prickly Florida blackberry, and a risk of extinction of the one remaining population from naturally occurring events.
Conservation and Recovery
S. stellarioides has been successfully propagated from seed, and National Tropical Botanical Garden had four plants in cultivation and more than 1,800 seeds in storage as of 1997.
The Division of Forestry and Wildlife and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service fenced the only known population in 1998 to protect it from feral goats and pigs. This area should be continually surveyed and managed to reduce threats from the invasive alien plants prickly Florida blackberry and molasses grass.
Enclosures will extend the life of adult plants, but if introduced snails and slugs are consuming seedlings, as in the case of S. membranacea, the populations will decline even if protected from ungulates.
The current high selfing rate in this species may result from the recent loss of native pollinators. If inbreeding depression is high in S. stellarioides, as it is for the seven other species of Schiedea that have been investigated, then the high selfing rate will be detrimental to the long term persistence of this species. In conjunction with observations of pollinators, an investigation of levels of inbreeding depression is necessary.
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.