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Plant Profile

`Ohi`a (Metrosideros polymorpha var. polymorpha)

Photo Caption Photo Credit: Jac Harvey
  • Global Rank: T3 - Vulnerable
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Myrtaceae
  • State: HI
  • Nature Serve ID: 134791
  • Lifeform: Tree, Shrub
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 07/05/2021

Where is `Ohi`a (Metrosideros polymorpha var. polymorpha) located in the wild?

States & Provinces:

`Ohi`a can be found in Hawaii

Which CPC Partners conserve `Ohi`a (Metrosideros polymorpha var. polymorpha)?

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

Nathaniel Kingsley
  • 08/09/2022
  • Seed Collection

Seed collections of Metrosideros polymorpha var. polymorpha by Nate Kingsley, Jordan Takaba, Corbin Banua (pictured), Jac Harvey, and Sarah Gaston from Manana Trail in the southern Koʻolau Mountains on the island of Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi. M. polymorpha is a tree with highly variable characteristics. In favorable conditions, it can reach heights of about 20-25m. However, when in bog soils, its growth habit is a small, prostrate. It produces a showy inflorescence made up of a mass of stamens ranging from red to yellow. It is endemic to the six largest islands of Hawai'i. In Hawai'i, it's found in a wide variety of habitats and tolerates a wide range of soil conditions, temperatures and rainfall. Such habitats include coastal cliffs, lava fields, and dry to moist forests, and it grows at elevations ranging from 100m to 2500m. When collecting seeds, make sure the capsules are ripe. Ripe capsules are dry, brown, and cracking open. Place the cluster of capsules facedown on a clean tray in a dry area and lightly shake the capsules to extract the seeds. You may want to use a needle or toothpick to gently remove any remaining seeds that are stuck in the capsules. The seeds are fairly easy to propagate, however, they have a low rate of germination – an average of about 20%. Luckily, M. polymorpha produces small seeds in large amounts. Sow these seeds on a layer of moist sphagnum moss over a well-draining potting mix. Viable seeds typically germinate within six weeks. For this accession, seeds were all mature when collected. Seeds of this species are storable for 20+ years at -18ºC.

Center for Plant Conservation
  • 08/19/2021
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

In 2021, CPC contracted Harold L. Lyon Arboretum to recollect seed from a population currently held in long term orthodox seed storage as part of an IMLS-funded seed longevity experiment. The National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation will evaluate how germination tested viability and RNA Integrity of seed lots decline over time in storage.

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Taxon Metrosideros polymorpha var. polymorpha
Authority Gaudich
Family Myrtaceae
CPC Number 449607
ITIS 529177
Duration Perennial
Common Names \'ohi\'a lehua | `Ohi`a
Associated Scientific Names Metrosideros polymorpha var. polymorpha | Metrosideros collina | Metrosideros collina ssp. polymorpha | Metrosideros polymorpha var. macrostemon
State Rank
State State Rank
Hawaii SNR
Ecological Relationships


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