Wilkesia hobdyi

Common Names:
dwarf liau
St. John
Growth Habit:
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 Wilkesia hobdyi is fully sponsored.


The genus Wilkesia (Asteraceae) contains two species endemic to Kauai. One of these, Wilkesia hobdyi, is threatened. This plant is currently found only on nearly vertical rock outcrops in western Kauai, and is threatened by the actions of feral goats.

Goats were brought to the islands of Hawaii by Europeans as a food source in the late 1700s, and quickly spread throughout even the most remote areas of the islands. Goats caused extensive damage to Hawaiian plant species, as they evolved in the absence of grazing mammals and therefore had no defense mechanisms to limit the detrimental effects of browsing. Since then, feral goats have reduced or eliminated whole populations of native plants, leaving remnant plant populations behind only on the steepest and most inaccessible cliffs, where even the sure-footed goat doesnt venture. Such is the fate of this species, the dwarf iliau.

This small member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae) is a short-lived perennial shrub, which branches from the base and can grow up to 60 centimeters tall. The tip of each branch bears a cluster of narrow leaves (about 7.5 to 15 centimeters long) growing in whorls joined together into a short sheathing section at their bases. The cream-colored flower heads grow in clusters that are about 2 centimeters in diameter (USFWS 1995). Flowering plants have been observed in June, September, October, and December (Wagner et al. 1999).

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research