Popolo Ku Mai

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Popolo Ku Mai

Solanum incompletum

ListedNovember 10, 1994
FamilySolanaceae (Nightshade)
DescriptionWoody shrub with stems and lower leaf surfaces covered with reddish prickles.
HabitatDry mesic forest, diverse mesic forest, subalpine forest.
ThreatsLow numbers, competition from alien plants.


Solanum incompletum, a member of the night-shade family (Solanaceae), is a woody shrub that reaches 10 ft (3 m) in height. Its stems and lower leaf surfaces are covered with prominent reddish prickles about 0.2 in (0.5 cm) long or sometimes with yellow fuzzy hairs on young plant parts and lower leaf surfaces. The oval to elliptic leaves, 4-6 in (10-15 cm) long and about 2.8 in (7 cm) wide, have prominent veins on the lower surface and are on stalks up to 2.8 in (7 cm) long. The leaf margins are lobed with one to four lobes on each side. Numerous flowers grow in loose branching clusters with each flower on a stalk about 0.4 in (1 cm) long. The calyx and flowers generally lack prickles. The white petals form a star-shaped corolla about 0.8 in (2 cm) in diameter. The curved anthers top short filaments that do not extend beyond the petals, and fruits are round berries that mature from yellow-orange to black. This species differs from others in the genus by being generally prickly and having loosely clustered white flowers, curved anthers about 0.08 in (2 mm) long, and berries 0.4-0.8 in (1-2 cm) in diameter.

A specimen collected by David Nelson in 1779 from the island of Hawaii was described and named S. incompletum in 1852. The varieties var. glabratum and var. mauiense were described in 1888. Harold St. John described the species S. haleakalaense in 1969 from a specimen collected on the south slope of Haleakala on Maui. In the latest treatment, S. haleakalaense was synonymized with S. incompletum and no subspecific designations of S. incompletum were recognized.


The only known population of S. incompletum occurs on the island of Hawaii. Associated species include naio, Acacia koa (koa), and Sophora chrysophylla (mamane) in dry mesic forest, diverse mesic forest, and subalpine forest at elevations of 1,000-6,700 ft (300-2,050 m).


S. incompletum was historically known from central and northeastern Lanai and from scattered locations on Maui. The species also had a historical presence on the islands of Kauai and Molokai. On the island of Hawaii, S. incompletum was known from the Kohala Mountains, Kona, Puu Waawaa, Puu Ikaaka Crater, and Omaokoili.

The only remaining populations of S. incompletum, a species unseen for more than 40 years, consist of two occurrences of about 40 individuals discovered in 1996 on the U. S. Army's Pohakuloa Training Area on the island of Hawaii.


The primary threats to the last remaining individuals of S. incompletum are stochastic extinction and reduced reproductive vigor due to the extremely small number of existing plants, and competition with the alien plant Senecio mikanioides (German ivy).

German ivy, a wind-dispersed vine that forms localized mats of vegetation, is a threat to the two known populations of S. incompletum on Hawaii. This S. incompletum population is fenced and protected from ungulates; it is not protected, however, from German ivy.

Conservation and Recovery

The U. S. Army Garrison's five-year ecosystem management plans for all of its training areas in the State of Hawaii includes actions to protect endangered species, prevent range fires, and minimize soil erosion. These actions are expected to enhance conservation of the S. incompletum plants found on the Army's Pohakuloa Training Area. In addition, the military has built fenced enclosures to protect these plants from feral sheep and mouflon.

An unspecified number of seeds are housed at the Lyon Arboretum.


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. 10 November 1994. "Endangered Status for 12 Plants from the Hawaiian Islands." Federal Register 59 (217): 56333-56351.