Kokia kauaiensis

Common Names:
hau Hele'ula, Kauai koki'o
(Rock) Degener & Duvel
Growth Habit:
Tree, Shrub
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
Fully Sponsored

Reference Links

ITIS - Tropicos - USDA Plants - Fish & WildLife

Participating Institutions

The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
National Tropical Botanical Garden

The conservation of Kokia kauaiensis is fully sponsored.


There are four described species of Kokia, a genus endemic to Hawaii. Of these four, one has been presumed extinct since the late 1800s, and the other three are clinging to life with varying degrees of success. One of them, Kokia cookei, survives only in botanical gardens as a few individuals that have been grafted onto root stock of Kokia kauaiensis in order to survive (Woolliams et al. 1980). Thus, in relation to its relatives, K. kauaiensis is doing relatively well, but itself consists of only 6 populations totaling less than 100 individuals (USFWS 2001).

K. kauaiensis, a member of the hibiscus family (Malvaceae) is a small tree that grows from 5 to 10 meters (16-33 ft) tall. Its leaves have 7 to 9 lobes and circular in shape (12 to 25 cm wide) with a heart-shaped base. The broadly egg-shaped floral bracts are 4 to 6 centimeters (1.5-2 in) long and hairless, except for the base. It has curved petals 10 to 15 centimeters (4 to 6 in) long are twisted at the base, and densely covered with yellowish silky hairs. The fruit is an egg-shaped capsule with egg-shaped seeds covered with reddish, wooly hairs up to 10 millimeters long.

This long-lived perennial species is distinguished from others of this endemic Hawaiian genus by the length of the bracts surrounding the flower head (brick red in color), number of lobes, and the width of the leaves. The length of the petals and the length of the hairs on the seeds are also distinctive (USFWS 1998).

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research