Clay's Hibiscus / Center For Plant Conservation
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Plant Profile

Clay's Hibiscus (Hibiscus clayi)

This closeup shows the dark red flower with the staminal column exserted. Photo Credit: Harold L. Lyon Arboretum
  • Global Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Endangered
  • Family: Malvaceae
  • State: HI
  • Nature Serve ID: 140669
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/10/1987

Hibiscus clayi is a member of the mallow family (Malvaceae). It is a shrub or tree up to 4 to 8 meters tall with stems bearing sparse hairs at the branch tips. The flowers are borne singly near the ends of the branches are dark red in color. Hibiscus clayi was known from scattered locations on private and State land on the island of Kaua`i, but only the Nounou Mountains population, with four trees is still known to exist. Before cattle were removed from the area, a great amount of damage was done to the Hisbiscus clayi habitat, which contributed significantly to the species decline. Currently, weeds are the major threat and a hiking trail in close proximity to most of the plants make them prone to human disturbance.

Where is Clay's Hibiscus (Hibiscus clayi) located in the wild?


Lowland dry forest generally growing on slopes at an elevation of 230 to 350 meters (USFWS 1995) and (Wagner et al. 1999). This is true


Kaua`i-Nounou Mountain in Wailua to the east (USFWS 1995).

States & Provinces:

Clay's Hibiscus can be found in Hawaii

Which CPC Partners conserve Clay's Hibiscus (Hibiscus clayi)?

CPC's Plant Sponsorship Program provides long term stewardship of rare plants in our National Collection. We are so grateful for all our donors who have made the Plant Sponsorship Program so successful. We are in the process of acknowledging all our wonderful plant sponsorship donors on our website. This is a work in progress and will be updated regularly.

Conservation Actions

  • 09/16/2020
  • Living Collection

Outplanting of 11 plants at Kalepa and Nounou Forest Reserves (USFWS 1995).

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Endemic to the island of Kauai. This species has been recorded from only a few sites. Currently, only 4 wild individuals are known at a single site. The species is been endangered by feral ungulates and alien plant species.

David Orr
  • 01/01/2010

Competition with alien plants. Human disturbance-a nearby hiking trail. Stochastic extinction due to small number of existing individuals. Feral pigs. (USFWS 1995, 2001)

David Orr
  • 01/01/2010

Kaua`i-Nounou Mountains, 1 population, 4 plants (USFWS 1995, 2001).

David Orr
  • 01/01/2010

Propagation through seeds (USFWS 1995).

David Orr
  • 01/01/2010

Outplanting of 11 plants at Kalepa and Nounou Forest Reserves (USFWS 1995).

David Orr
  • 01/01/2010

Fenced exclosure of remaining wild individuals. Control of feral pigs. Control of alien plants. Control human disturbance. (USFWS 1995)

David Orr
  • 01/01/2010

Genetic studies. Physiological studies. Seed banking. Propagation through- seeds, cuttings, tissue culture to increase genetic stock. (USFWS 1995)


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Taxon Hibiscus clayi
Authority O. Degener & I. Degener
Family Malvaceae
CPC Number 2257
ITIS 21642
Common Names Clay's Hibiscus | Newhouse hibiscus | red Kauai rosemallow
Associated Scientific Names Hibiscus clayi | Hibiscus newhousei
Distribution Kaua`i-Nounou Mountain in Wailua to the east (USFWS 1995).
State Rank
State State Rank
Hawaii S1
Ecological Relationships

Little is known about the life history of Hibiscus clayi. Flowering cycles, pollination vectors, seed dispersal agents, longevity, specific environmental requirements, and limiting factors are unknown (USFWS 1995).

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Bee Confirmed Pollinator Link
Butterflies & Moths
Moth Confirmed Pollinator Link
Bird Confirmed Pollinator Link

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