Nehe (Lipochaeta waimeaensis)

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Lipochaeta waimeaensis

ListedFebruary 25, 1994
FamilyCompositae (Asteraceae)
DescriptionLow growing, somewhat woody perennial herb with stems 3-6.5 ft (1-2 m); linear, hairy leaves; and flower heads borne singly or in clusters of two to three.
HabitatEroded soil on a precipitous, shrubcovered gulch in a diverse lowland mesic forest.
ThreatsGoats, alien plants, over-collecting, limited numbers.


This nehe, Lipochaeta waimeaensis, is a low growing, somewhat woody perennial herb in the aster family with stems 3-6.5 ft (1-2 m) long that root at the nodes. The linear or narrowly elliptical leaves are 1.9-2 in (4.8-5 cm) long, 0.2-0.3 in (0.5-0.8 cm) wide, hairy along the upper veins on the upper surface, and evenly hairy on the lower surface. Flower heads are borne singly or in clusters of two or three. The outer head bracts are lance-shaped and measure 0.1-0.2 in (0.3-0.5 cm) long and 0.06-0.08 in (0.15-0.2 cm) wide. The oval ray florets number four or five per head and are about 0.13 in (0.33 cm) long and about 0.1 in (0.3 cm) wide. The disk florets number 20-25 per head. The fruits are knobby, winged achenes 0.1 in (0.3 cm) long and about 0.08 in (0.2 cm) wide. The ray achenes are slightly wider and have longer wings than those of the disk. This species differs from the other plants of the genus in having a different leaf shape and shorter leaf stalks and ray florets.


L. waimeaensis grows in eroded soil on a precipitous, shrub-covered gulch in a diverse lowland mesic forest at an elevation between 1,150 and 1,300 ft (350 and 395 m). The vegetation at the site is primarily alien, consisting of silk oak (Grevillea robusta ), koa haole (Leucaena leucocephala ), and Natal redtop (Rhynchelytrum repeus ). Native plants include Dodonaea viscosa and L. connata.


L. waimeaensis is known only from its place of original discovery, along the rim of Kauai's Waimea Canyon on state land. Approximately 100 plants are scattered over a 2.5-acre (1-hectare) area in Waimea Canyon.


Alien plants competing with and threatening L. waimeaensis include koa haole, Natal redtop, silk oak, and prickly pear. The existing soil erosion problem is exacerbated by the presence of feral goats. The single remaining population is threatened by stochastic extinction and reduced reproductive vigor due to its small numbers. Overcollecting for scientific purposes also poses a threat.

Conservation and Recovery

L. waimeaensis has been successfully propagated and then cultivated by Lyon Arboretum and the National Tropical Botanical Garden. Lyon Arboretum held 28 plants on the arboretum grounds in 1995. At the same time, the National Tropical Botanical Garden had seeds in short-term storage.


Pacific Joint Venture
300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 3-122
P.O. Box 50167
Honolulu, Hawaii 96850-0056
Telephone: (808) 541-2749

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


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