Lava-field Jackbean / Center For Plant Conservation
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Plant Profile

Lava-field Jackbean (Canavalia pubescens)

A perennial climber in the pea family (Fabaceae), is currently found only on the island of Maui, although it was also historically known from Niihau, Kauai, and Lanai. In April of 2010, the species totaled as many as 500 individuals; however, with the recent loss of the plants at Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve, C. pubescens may currently total fewer than 200 individuals at a single location. Photo Credit: Hank Oppenheimer//US Fish and Wildlife Service © 2012
  • Global Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Endangered
  • Family: Fabaceae
  • State: HI
  • Nature Serve ID: 155300
  • Lifeform: Forb/herb, Vine
  • Date Inducted in National Collection:

This endemic vine produces a flower of many colors ranging from dark red to pink (rarely white) with white spots and streaks towards its base (Warren W, et al. 1999). After flowering, awikiwiki form large flat pods containing tan to dark reddish brown seeds (Native Plants 2009). In the past, early Hawaiians used the stems of this plant to build fishing nets and its leaves and bark for medicinal uses, but today, it is threatened by invasive plants and the grazing of introduced livestock to the areas.

Where is Lava-field Jackbean (Canavalia pubescens) located in the wild?


This Canavalia species is a twining vine of dry grasslands, shrublands, and forests. It is often at the coast or a short distance inland (IUCN 2003). It is found in these islands' dryer environments, typically lava fields and dry forests, where it can perform nitrogen fixation.


The lavafield jackbean's native range includes the islands of Ni'ihau, Kaua'i, Lana'i, and Maui.

States & Provinces:

Lava-field Jackbean can be found in Hawaii

Which CPC Partners conserve Lava-field Jackbean (Canavalia pubescens)?

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

Nellie Sugii, Kahoali`i K. Keahi-Wood
  • 07/13/2017

Threats include feral pigs, weeds, possibly invertebrates, and humans interference.

Nellie Sugii, Kahoali`i K. Keahi-Wood
  • 07/13/2017

Seven remaining sites exist on the island of Maui with less than 200 total individuals.

Nellie Sugii, Kahoali`i K. Keahi-Wood
  • 07/13/2017

Conservation needs include monitoring, enclosure construction, alien plant control, and feral pig control.

Nellie Sugii, Kahoali`i K. Keahi-Wood
  • 07/13/2017

Ex-situ collections need seed banking, optimization of propagation protocols and genetic study.


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Taxon Canavalia pubescens
Authority Hook. & Arn.
Family Fabaceae
CPC Number 744
ITIS 501187
Duration Perennial
Common Names Lavafield Jackbean | Awikiwiki | Puakauhi
Associated Scientific Names Canavalia forbesii | Canavalia haleakalaensis | Canavalia lanaiensis | Canavalia munroi | Canavalia pubescens | Canavalia galeata var. pubescens | Canavalia lanaiensis var. munroi | Canavalia sericea var. lanaiensis
Distribution The lavafield jackbean's native range includes the islands of Ni'ihau, Kaua'i, Lana'i, and Maui.
State Rank
State State Rank
Hawaii S1
Ecological Relationships

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Bees Confirmed Pollinator Link

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