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Remya Kauaiensis

Remya kauaiensis

No Common Name

Status Endangered
Listed January 14, 1991
Family Compositae (Asteraceae)
Description Sprawling shrub with hairy leaves bunched at the stem ends and clusters of small, yellow flowers.
Habitat Steep slopes in moist forests.
Threats Domestic and feral animals, alien plant species, low numbers.
Range Hawaii


The small perennial shrubs of the Remya genus reach 3 ft (0.9 m) in height and have many slender, sprawling or scandent to weakly erect branches. The branches are glabrous in R. montgomeryi, but are covered with a fine tan fuzz near their tips in the other two species. The leaves are narrow, up to about 6 in (15 cm) long, and are bunched at the ends of the branches. The leaves are coarsely toothed along the edges, and are green on the upper surface. The lower surface is green in R. montgomeryi, while in the other two species it is covered with a dense mat of fine white hairs. The flowers are small, about 0.3 in (0.8 cm) in diameter, dark yellow, and densely clustered at the ends of the stems.

Seedlings of this species have not been observed, and flowers that have been seen in April, May, June, and August are probably insect-pollinated. R. kauaiensis seeds are probably dispersed by wind or water; the species may be self-incompatible.

Remya, a genus in the aster family (Asteraceae), comprises three species and is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. The genus, described in 1876 by George Bentham in Bentham and Hooker's Genera plantarum, was named in honor of Ezechiel Jules Remy, a French naturalist and ethnobotanist who visited Hawaii twice during an extended trip around the world from 1851 to 1863.


R. kauaiensis grows chiefly on steep, north-or northeast-facing slopes at elevations of 2,800-4,100 ft (850-1,250 m). It is found primarily in mesic forests or the remnants of mesic forests. One known population, growing on the steep cliffs below the rim of Kalalau Valley at the edge of a mesic forest, receives considerably more moisture than do other populations, which are scattered throughout the drier ridges of northwest Kauai and in the Waimea Canyon.


R. kauaiensis was first collected prior to 1871 by Valdemar Knudsen at "Waimea" on Kauai. Knudsen sent the specimen to William Hillebrand, a Honolulu physician, who described it as a new species. It was next collected more than 80 years later by Otto Degener in 1952 at Kokee State Park on Kauai. The species was considered extinct until 1983, when it was rediscovered by Galen Kawakami, a forester on Kauai, who discovered two more small populations in the Kokee area. Five additional small populations have been discovered in the Kokee area and just below the rim of Kalalau Valley distributed within a total area of less than 2 acres (0.8 hectare). Other populations have been found in the Na Pali Kona Forest Reserve at Koaie, Mohihi, Kalalau, Makaha, Nualolo, Kawaiula, Kuia, Honopu, Awaawapuhi, Kopakaka, and Kauhao. These populations range in size from less than 10 to less than 100 plants each, with an estimated total of less than 200 individuals in 1995.


The primary threats to R. kauaiensis include predation and habitat degradation by feral goats, pigs, and deer, as well as competition from alien plant species. Other threats include erosion, fire, and stochastic extinction by virtue of the extremely small size of the populations coupled with a limited distribution. The limited gene pool may depress reproductive vigor, or a single environmental disturbance could destroy a significant percentage of the known individuals.

Conservation and Recovery

The National Tropical Botanical Garden has seeds in storage, but has been unable to successfully propagate R. kauaiensis. The Kauai District of the State of Hawaii's Division of Forestry and Wildlife has fenced about 15 individuals of this species in Kokee State Park.


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
Pacific Remote Islands Ecological Services Field
300 Ala Moana Blvd., Room 3-122
P.O. Box 50088
Honolulu, Hawaii 96850-5000
Telephone: (808) 541-1201
Fax: (808) 541-1216


Cuddihy, L. W., and C. P. Stone. 1990. Alteration of Native Hawaiian Vegetation: Effects of Humans, Their Activities, and Introductions. Cooperative National Park Resources Study Unit, University of Hawaii, Honolulu.

Herbst, D. R. 1988. "Status Survey of the Genus Remya. " U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Honolulu.

Wagner, W. L., and D. R. Herbst. 1987. "A New Species of Remya (Asteraceae: Astereae) on Kaua'i and a Review of the Genus." Systematic Botany 12 (4): 601-608.

Wagner, W. L., D. R. Herbst, and S. H. Sohmer. 1990. Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai'i. University of Hawaii Press and Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu.

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