Mariscus Fauriei

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Mariscus fauriei

No Common Name

ListedMarch 4, 1994
FamilyCyperaceae (Sedge)
DescriptionPerennial plant with somewhat enlarged underground stems, three-angled, single or grouped aerial stems; and three to 10 unbranched clusters of unstalked flowers.
HabitatLlama-dominated lowland dry forests, often on a substrate, at elevations between 880 and 6,000 ft (268 and 1,829 m).
ThreatsCompetition from alien plants; habitat destruction by feral goats; limited numbers.


Mariscus fauriei is a perennial plant with somewhat enlarged underground stems and three-angled, single or grouped aerial stems 4-20 in (10.2-50.8 cm) tall. The leaves are shorter than or the same length as the stems and 0.04-0.1 in (1.0-0.2 cm) wide. Three to five bracts, the lowest ones 2.4-7.9 in (6.1-20.1 cm) long, are located under each flower cluster, which measures 0.8-1.8 in (2.0-4.6 cm) long and 1.2-3.9 in (3.1-9.9 cm) wide and is made up of three to 10 spikes. Each spike measures 0.3-1.2 in (0.8-3.5 cm) long and 0.3-0.4 in (0.8-1.0 cm) wide and is made up of compressed spreading spikelets, each comprising seven to nine flowers. Fruits are three-angled achenes about 0.05 in (1.3 mm) long and about 0.03 in (0.8 cm) wide. This species differs from others in the genus in Hawaii by its smaller size and more spreading spikelets.


This species typically grows in llama-dominated lowland dry forests, often on a substrate, at elevations between 880 and 6,000 ft (268 and 1,829 m). Associated species include alahe'e, 'ala'ala wai nui, and hao.


Historically, this species was found on east Molokai, in the northwestern and southwestern portions of Lanai, and on the island of Hawaii on the northern slope of Hualalai on the northwestern and southernmost slopes of Mauna Loa.

Altogether three extant populations and about 33-43 known individuals are found on Molokai and Hawaii; the species is almost certainly extinct on Lanai. One population of about 20-30 plants occurs on Molokai on state land. Two populations located about 45 mi (72.4 km) apart are known on Hawaii on the Hualalai side of Mauna Loa and in the South Point area. The land is privately owned, and there are a total of about 13 known individuals on the island.


Significant browsing and trampling of M. fauriei by feral goats and axis deer occur on Molokai and are contributing significantly to the taxon's decline. Disturbance of substrate and understory provide opportunities for invasion of alien taxa.

On the Island of Hawaii, competition with alien species such as the noxious grass Oplismenus hirtellus, koa haole (Leucaena leucocephala ), and Schinus terebinthifolius (a member of the mango family) is a major concern. These invasive species are encroaching on habitats of M. fauriei. Also the two aforementioned alien species present a major threat in drier habitats. On Molokai and particularly on Hawaii, small numbers of widely distributed M. fauriei account for a much reduced gene pool, which may negatively affect reproductive vigor. Development and natural and human-caused catastrophic events are grave threats because entire populations may be extirpated.

Conservation and Recovery

Propagation and maintenance of ex situ genetic stock are necessary. Molokai populations should be protected from deer and goats via fencing or other means. Control of competing alien taxa, specifically Oplismenus hirtellus, Leucaena leucocephala, and Schinus terebinthifolius, is necessary on Hawaii. Propagation and outplanting of ex situ stock will likely be needed in order to establish a sufficient number of populations and plants for recovery. Efforts should be made to ensure that both Molokai and Hawaii populations remain viable.


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

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Mariscus Fauriei

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