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Peucedanum sandwicense

ListedFebruary 25, 1994
FamilyUmbelliferae (Apiaceae)
DescriptionParsley-scented, sprawling herb with 10-20 white flowers bent inward at the tips.
HabitatCliff habitats from sea level to above 3,000 ft (914 m) located in coastal to lowland dry to mesic shrublands and forests.
ThreatsGoats, alien plants, fire, natural disaster, human impact, limited numbers.


Makou (Peucedanum sandwicense, ) is a parsley-scented, sprawling herb usually 20-40 in (0.51-1.0 m) tall. Hollow stems arise from a short, vertical, and perennial stem with several fleshy roots. The compound leaves are generally three-parted with stalkless leaflets, each egg-shaped or lance-shaped and toothed. The larger terminal leaflet is usually oneto three-lobed and 2.8-5.1 in (7.1-12.9 cm) long. The other leaflets have leaf stalks 4-20 in (10.2-50.8 cm) long or are stalkless. Flowers are clustered in a compound umbel of 10-20 flowers. The round petals are white and bent inward at the tips. The flat, dry, oval fruits are 0.4-0.5 in (1.0-1.3 cm) long and 0.2-0.3 in (5.1-7.6 mm) wide, splitting in half to release a single flat seed. This species is the only member of the genus in the Hawaiian Islands. This species differs from the other Kauai members of the parsley family in having larger fruit and pinnately compound leaves with broad leaflets.


P. sandwicense is found within a variety of vegetation communities, ranging from coastal to lowland dry to mesic shrubland and forests to cliff habitats at elevations of 3,000 ft (914 m). Associated plants include 'akoko, kawelu, lama, 'ohi'a, 'ahinahina, and alien species such as common guava and lantana.


P. sandwicense had historical occurrences at Kalaupapa, Pauonuakea Kui, Waikolu, and Wailau Valley on Molokai; Wailuku and Waiehu on Maui; and various locations in the Waimea Canyon and Olokele regions of Kauai.

Discoveries in 1990 extended the known distribution of this species to the island of Oahu, where two populations totaling about 85 individuals exist in the Waianae Mountains on county and state land. One population of 20-30 individuals is known from state-owned Keopuka Rock, an islet off the coast of Maui. On Molokai, three populations totaling less than 30 individuals are found on private and state-owned land in Pelekunu Preserve, Kalaupapa National Historical Park, and Huelo, an islet off the coast of Molokai. The 10 Kauai populations of 130-190 individuals are distributed in Waimea Canyon along the Na Pali Coast within 1.5 mi (2.4 km) of the ocean. These populations are found within a 7-8-mi (11.3-12.9-km) area on private and state land. The total number of plants in the known populations of this species is estimated to exceed 1,000 and possibly 5,000 individuals.


Competition with aggressive alien plants and habitat degradation and browsing by feral goats are the major threats to P. sandwicense. Kauai populations are affected by the introduced exotics: air plant, banana poka, common guava, daisy fleabane, firetree, introduced grasses, Java plum, and lantana, as well as by feral goats. The Hanakapiai population on Kauai is close enough to the trail that it is potentially affected by hikers and trail clearing. Oahu populations are threatened by alien plants such as Christmasberry, common guava, daisy flea-bane, Hamakua pamakani, silk oak and Stachytarpheta. Also a threat on Oahu are feral goats, fire, and landslides. The Kalaupapa, Molokai population competes with Christmasberry, common guava, and molasses grass. The Pelekunu, Molokai population is threatened by common guava, Hamakua pamakani, Maui pamakani, and potentially by axis deer. Plants on Huelo are vulnerable to natural rock slides. The population on Keopuka Rock is threatened by alien grasses, lantana, and sourbush.

P. sandwicense is not in immediate danger of extinction, but if these threats are not curtailed, this species will become endangered.

Conservation and Recovery

P. sandwicense has been successfully propagated and then cultivated by National Tropical Botanic Garden and Waimea Arboretum. The former holds seed in storage and the latter has 24 plants.


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

Senior Resident Agent Office
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 7-235
P.O. Box 50223
Honolulu, Hawaii 96850-5000
Telephone: (808) 541-2681
Fax: (808) 541-3062


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 25 February 1994. "Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plant; Determination of Endangered or Threatened Status for 24 Plants from the Island of Kauai, HI." Federal Register 59 (38): 9304-9329.