'ohai / Center For Plant Conservation
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Plant Profile

'ohai (Sesbania molokaiensis)

  • Global Rank: N/A
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Fabaceae
  • State: HI
  • Nature Serve ID:
  • Lifeform: Shrub
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 05/28/1986

This taxon is now considered synonymous with Sesbania tomentosa. Please refer to the Sesbania tomentosa profile for more information.

Where is 'ohai (Sesbania molokaiensis) located in the wild?


Dry shrublands or (rarely) dry forests below 2500 feet (HNPP Database 2002), generally coastal (although it is occasionally found inland) on calcareous beaches and sand dunes, rocky ridges and slopes, deep red soil, and on soil pockets on lava. (NatureServe Explorer 2002)



States & Provinces:

'ohai can be found in Hawaii

Which CPC Partners conserve 'ohai (Sesbania molokaiensis)?

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

  • 01/01/2010

habitat degradation caused by axis deer and cattle competition with various alien plant species fire destruction by off-road vehicles (F.R. 1993)

  • 01/01/2010

There are two populations of Sesbania tomentosa in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. One population is on the island of Nihoa and consists of several thousand individuals and the other is on Necker Island (population size data not available). The species is known to exist on the privately owned island Niihau although the number of plants there is still unknown. On Molokai there are four populations on private and State-owned land from Kamiloloa to Makolelau totaling fewer than 2,000 individuals and another three populations from Moomomi to east of Hinanaulua consisting of about 100 to 150 plants on state and private land. On Lanai, there is a cluster of 3 populations between Paomai and Maunalei on privately owned land and includes at least 12 individuals growing on arid slopes. On Maui there are two sites on West Maui and two on East Maui. On West Maui, one plant is on State-owned land below Lihau Peak and near Nakalele Point to Puu Kahulianapa and there is a cluster of 4 populations containing about 50 to 75 individuals on state, Maui Co. and private land. On East Maui, there are two trees exist on private land in Kamaole (but they appear to have been planted) and a population of thirteen plants located on the Hawaii National Guard Kanaio Training Area. Approximately 25 to 30 individuals of Sesbania tomentosa are found on the islet of Puu Koae, a State-owned seabird sanctuary. On the island of Hawaii, Sesbania tomentosa is known in two regions of the southeast coast and two areas along the northwestern coast. On the southeastern coast between Ka Lae and Kaalela is a cluster of populations on State-owned land containing an estimated 260 individuals. The second cluster is in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. These scattered populations contain at least 50 individuals. On the northwestern coast, a single plant occurs on private land at Kaupulehua. The other northwest coast population of eight plants and several seedlings is also on private land at Waiakailio. (USFWS 1993)

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Taxon Sesbania molokaiensis
Authority W.J. Hooker and G.A.W. Arnott
Family Fabaceae
CPC Number 3945
Common Names 'ohai
Associated Scientific Names Sesbania molokaiensis
Distribution Hawaii
State Rank
State State Rank
Hawaii S1S3
Ecological Relationships


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