CPC Plant Profile: Waianae Range Tetramolopium
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Plant Profile

Waianae Range Tetramolopium (Tetramolopium lepidotum ssp. lepidotum)

Young pot grown specimen. Notice the apical flower head. Photo Credit: D. Ragone
  • Global Rank: T1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Endangered
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • State: HI
  • Nature Serve ID: 146870
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 04/01/1990

There are seventeen Tetramolopium taxa endemic to Hawaii, seven of which are threatened (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [USFWS] 2001). Tetramolopium lepidotum has two recognized subspecies: ssp. lepidotum, discussed here, and ssp. arbusculum, which is known only from one specimen collected in 1844, and is now considered extinct. For its part, T. c. ssp. lepidotum is maintaining a foothold in the wild, and is found in 4 populations with a total of about 15 plants. T. lepidotum subsp. lepidotum, a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae) is an erect perennial shrub (12 to 36 cm tall). It has stems that are apically branched with filiform (threadlike) to linear, linear-oblanceolate, or oblanceolate leaves. The flowers of T. lepidotum subsp. lepidotum are perfect with maroon to pale salmon corollas that are narrow and funnel in form (Wagner et al. 1999). T. lepidotum subsp. lepidotum is a short-lived perennial that is known to flower from April through July (USFWS 1998).

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Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Endemic to Hawaii: the Waianae Mountains of Oahu, and the island of Lanai. This taxon has not been seen on Lanai since the 1920's. On Oahu, the taxon has declined in the past few decades. Only 2 occurrences are known to be extant, with a total of fewer than 100 plants. The taxon is threatened by feral pigs and goats, scale insects, and alien plants.

  • 01/01/2010

Threats to T. lepidotum subsp. lepidotum include competition from alien plants (Schinus terebinthifolius [Christmas berry], Erigeron karvinskianus [daisy fleabane], Myrica faya [firetree], and Melinus minutiflora [molasses grass]), habitat degradation and

  • 01/01/2010

Number of Populations: 3 (USFWS 2002) Number of Plants: ca. 15 (USFWS 2002)

  • 01/01/2010

The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii (TNCH) has outplanted three individuals in a fenced exclosure within Honouliuli Preserve. Since then, all of those individuals have died although two T. lepidotum subsp. lepidotum has sprouted near the exclosure. In 1997, one of those plants flowered. The National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) has also propagated this species (USFWS 1998). The seeds of T. lepidotum subsp. lepidotum have been tested by NTBG, finding that they are orthodox and can tolerate freezing. The laboratory germination time was two months (Yoshinaga 2002)

  • 01/01/2010

NTBG currently has ex situ holdings of seeds in its seed bank, which represent two out of the three populations. In addition, there are 12 plants growing in the nursery of NTBG that represent a population on the Oahu, The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii (TNCH) Puu Kaua, Honouliuli preserve.

  • 01/01/2010

1. Construction of enclosures or barrier fences to protect populations of T. lepidotum subsp. lepidotum from feral ungulates. Removal of feral ungulates will also help in restoration of the native ecosystem. 2. Control of alien plant species within the enclosures that have only a few individuals is a necessity (Kuma Kakii and Waianae Kai Forest Reserve). 3. Provide protection from fires by coordinating a fire protection plan for endangered plant species on State forest reserves and private lands. 4. Conduct pollination biology, seed dispersal mechanisms, and molecular phylogenic studies on T. lepidotum subsp. lepidotum. 5. Map genetic diversity in the surviving populations. Recommendations derived from M.H. Chapin, M. Maunder, and USFWS (1998).

  • 01/01/2010

1. Establish secure ex situ stocks with full founder representation. 2. Develop proper horticultural protocols and pest management for T. lepidotum subsp. lepidotum. 3. Survey ex situ holding and conduct molecular fingerprinting on T. lepidotum subsp. lepidotum. Recommendations derived from M.H. Chapin and M. Maunder.


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Taxon Tetramolopium lepidotum ssp. lepidotum
Authority (Less.) Sherff
Family Asteraceae
CPC Number 6595
ITIS 202492
Common Names Waianae Range tetramolopium
Associated Scientific Names Tetramolopium lepidotum ssp. lepidotum | Tetramolopium lepidotum | Tetramolopium lepidotum var. luxurians
Distribution T. lepidotum subsp. lepidotum is endemic to Oahu and was historically found along nearly the entire length of the Waianae Mountains. Today it is distributed among the Waianae Mountains from Kuma Kakii
State Rank
State State Rank
Hawaii S1

T. lepidotum subsp. lepidotum is found on grassy ridgetops slopes, or west-facing cliffs, mesic forest, at 370 to 940 meters (1,200 to 3,000 feet) elevation. Associated species of T. lepidotum subsp. lepidotum include Bidens sp. (Kookoolau) and Metrosideros polymorpha (Ohia).

Ecological Relationships

None known.

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

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