CPC Plant Profile: Ma`o Hau Hele
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Plant Profile

Ma`o Hau Hele (Hibiscus brackenridgei ssp. mokuleianus)

This closeup shows the yellow flower and staminal column. Photo Credit: K. Woolliams
  • Global Rank: T1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Malvaceae
  • State: HI
  • Nature Serve ID: 154301
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/10/1987

Hibiscus brackenridgei is Hawai`i's State flower and a member of the mallow family (Malvaceae). It is a sprawling shrub to small tree with beautiful yellow flowers with a maroon spot in the center. Hibiscus brackenridgei ssp. mokuleianusis currently known only from 5 populations with a total of 100-300 plants. They are found on the island of O`ahu scattered in the Waianae Mountains in lowland dry to mesic forest and shrubland. It was once thought to have occurred on Kaua`i from Lihue and Olokele Canyon. Threats such as habitat degradation and possible predation by pigs, goats, deer and cattle; competition with alien plant species; road construction; fire and random naturally occurring events have significantly reduced the number of populations and plant numbers and some cases extinction in some areas.

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Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

This taxon is endemic the the northern Waianae Mountains of Oahu. There are also questionable reports of this taxon from Kauai. The taxon is currently known from only 2 occurrences, with a total of fewer than 300 plants. Fire poses a major threat in the dry zone of the Waianae Mountains where this taxon occurs. The plant's habitat has also been invaded by alien plants to a large extent. Other threats include pigs and cattle.

David Orr
  • 01/01/2010

Feral and wild ungulates Alien plant species Low number of individuals Fire Invertebrates Rats Development (USFWS 1999, 2001)

David Orr
  • 01/01/2010

Oahu-Puu Pane to Kealia-Kawaihapai, 3 populations. Oahu-Dillinham Military Reservation, 1 population, 3 individuals Oahu- Between Dupont Trail and Puu Iki, 1 population. Approximately 100-300 individuals total are known to remain. (USFWS 1999, 2001)

David Orr
  • 01/01/2010

Propagation through seeds. (USFWS 1999)

David Orr
  • 01/01/2010

Outplanting at The Nature Conservancy-Hawai`i-Honouliuli Preserve in fenced exclosure (USFWS 1999) In April, 2002, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that a designation of critical habitat was prudent for this species. (USFWS 2002)

David Orr
  • 01/01/2010

Construct more exclosures to protect the other wild populations. Control competing alien plant species. Enhance wild populations and establish new populations. Protect from fire. Monitoring of existing plants. Control feral and wild ungulates. Control rats. Control invertebrates. (USFWS 1999)

David Orr
  • 01/01/2010

Genetic studies. Physiological studies. Seed banking. Ex situ plantings in botanical gardens. Increase genetic stock through propagation. (USFWS 1999)


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Taxon Hibiscus brackenridgei ssp. mokuleianus
Authority (M. Roe) D. Bates
Family Malvaceae
CPC Number 6329
ITIS 524143
Common Names Ma`o hau hele | Ma'o Hau Hele | Mokulei rosemallow
Associated Scientific Names Hibiscus brackenridgei ssp. mokuleianus | Hibiscus brackenridgei var. mokuleianus
Distribution O`ahu- Scattered in the Waianae Mountains from Puu Pane to Kealia-Kawaihapai, and Dillingham Military Reservation (USFWS 1999).
State Rank
State State Rank
Hawaii S1

Occurs in lowland dry to mesic forest and shrubland from 120-240 meters in elevation (USFWS 1999) and (Wagner et al. 1999).

Ecological Relationships

Little is known about the life history of this plant. Pollination biology, longevity, specific environmental requirements and limiting factors are unknown (USFWS 1999).

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting
Oahu Army Natural Resources Program Hawaii Reinforcement 2005
Oahu Army Natural Resources Program Hawaii Reinforcement 2008
Oahu Army Natural Resources Program Hawaii Reintroduction 2013

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