News from the Center for Plant Conservation
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Aloha my CPC Friends,

This month's issue of Save Plants focuses on my favorite islands - Hawaii. The Aloha State holds a special place in my heart as I did much of my graduate work there as well as worked at National Tropical Botanical Garden before coming to CPC. Often thought of as Paradise for its friendly spirit and beautiful weather, the Hawaiian Islands hold the dubious distinction of being the "extinction capitol of the world." Nearly half of all native plants in Hawaii face eminent extinction if current trends continue. Thankfully, Hawaii—anchored by several CPC Participating Institutions there—has developed a state-wide initiative known as the Hawaii Strategy for Plant Conservation. The Strategy outlines critical needs in the state to save its rich and endangered flora and provides guidelines and priorities for those working to save Hawaii's plants. Read on to learn more about this wonderful place and the people working to ensure Paradise will endure. In our July issue, we'll feature the Southeast. Please feel free to share any comments by emailing me at

John R. Clark, Executive Director

Updates from our Participating Institutions
Raising the Red Flag – Hawaii currently has about 389 taxa published on the Red List. An effort is underway to increase the number of endangered native Hawaiian species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List before the IUCN’s World Conservation Congress in September 2016. Due to a recent listing effort by botanists in Hawaii, about 250 Hawaiian native plants will be added to the Red List before the IUCN Congress. Will red-listing save an endangered species? By itself, no. However, red-listing means there is an established international protocol for assessment. By identifying the status of the plants based on those protocols, priorities for conservation can be set and appropriate use of resources can be determined. Botanists out in the field, like those of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, are often the lead in stopping extinction. Through their efforts and advocacy, direct intervention can mean the plants’ survival. Red-listing is a wake-up call. Read more.
New Home for Hawaiian Rare Plant Program (HRPP) – After years of fund raising, the HRPP at the Harold L. Lyon Arboretum is in the beginning stages of building a new facility to house rare plants. The technologies used in plant recovery, such as micropropogation, are high-maintenance procedures that require an environmentally controlled environment that allows a rapid increase in the number of plants. The new facility is vital to the continuing efforts of recovering some of the state’s most endangered plants. Not only will the growing space double and state-of-the-art lab facilities be put in place, but the visually engaging setup will allow visitors to learn more about the on-going plight of endemic and endangered plants as well as the efforts expended on saving these plants. Read more.

(Photo -
Kumu Sam ‘Ohu Gon III leads Ground breakers at ground breaking ceremony.)
Hawaii’s Three Endemic Abutilons – Imagine a seed germinating that had lain dormant underground for over a century, and it was the seed of a plant thought to be extinct on the Big Island. This is how the Abutilon menziesii, or ko’oloa’ula, was rediscovered. The rarest Abutilon, the Abutilon eremitopetalum was thought to be extinct but was rediscovered on O’ahu in 1989. The largest Abutilon, A. sandwicense, is found in the foothills of the Waianae Mountains. The goal of Waimea Valley is to give Hawaii residents an opportunity to encounter remote rare plants such as these in a protected environment, keeping those plants in remote areas undisturbed. Waimea Valley is part of the Hi‘ipaka LLC, a nonprofit company "created to nurture and care for this treasure." Read more.

(Photo @ David Eickhoff, Waimea Valley Audubon Center)

FEATURED CONSERVATION BIOLOGIST Seana Walsh was born on Kaua’i and raised on Maui. She developed an interest in protecting Hawaii’s native flora and fauna and at the age of 15 took a three-day native planting work trip on Kaho’olawe with the Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission. This trip would prove to be a pivotal moment in her life and career path. Today Seana is leading the development of the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) activities to implement the Hawaii Strategy for Plant Conservation (HSPC), a cooperative effort to protect native plant biodiversity in Hawaii. This strategy has specific targets and outlines how agencies will work individually and together towards meeting those targets. Seana describes her position at NTBG as a “dream job.”
MEET EMMY SEYMOUR, FORMER CPC TRUSTEE - Emmy Seymour, a native of Cleveland, grew up involved with local botanical gardens. Living in Hawaii, she discovered the plight of Hawaiian native plants in the early 1980s and became involved in the local efforts to save Hawaii’s rare endemic plants through the Harold L. Lyon Arboretum. Becoming part of the CPC was the next level of involvement. Its national structure would enable the organization to accomplish more, get the message out on a national level, and work collaboratively with other organizations using science-based practices. For Emmy, this collaborative endeavor meant that organizations could focus on propagation, restoration, or re-introduction of rare plants. Emmy became a trustee of the CPC, remaining on the Board for many years and serving as Chair of the Board for six years, prior to Peter Raven. Emmy is still actively involved with CPC.
PLANT OF THE MONTH - A federally listed endangered endemic species, Koki’o (Kokia kauaiensis), can only be found on the west side of Kaua’i. It is a flowering plant with brick-red flowers in the mallow family (Malvaceae). There are less than 100 individuals found in Pa’aiki, Ku’ia, Mahanaloa, Kalalau, and Koai’e valleys, inhabiting coastal mesic and mixed mesic forests. The genus Kokia contains 4 species endemic to Kaua’i. One of those species, Kokia lanceolata, is extinct. Environmental threats to Kokia kauaiensis are competition and habitat degradation by invasive plants, erosion of topsoil, seed predation by rats and browsing by feral goats and deer. More than 50 plants of Kokia kauaiensis have been cultivated by seed and tissue culture and The National Tropical Botanical Garden has 160 seeds in its seed bank. A five-year review was completed by the USFWS in 2010 showing populations of Koki’o had declined. A new five-year review was initiated in 2015.
• July 30 - 3 August, 2016
Botany 2016
Savanna, Georgia  More

• September 1-10, 2016
IUCN World Conservation Conference 2016
Honolulu, Hawaii  More

• November 3-5, 2016
Texas Plant Conservation Conference 2016
Fort Worth, Texas  More
Center for Plant Conservation National Headquarters
15600 San Pasqual Valley Rd.
Escondido, CA 92027-7000
(760) 796-5686
NEXT ISSUE: News from PI's in the Southeast, and more. Know others who may wish to receive news from CPC? They can Subscribe Here.
Copyright © 2016 Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) • CPC is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization EIN#22-2527116. Donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

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