CPC Plant Profile: `Olopu
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Plant Profile

`Olopu (Viola chamissoniana ssp. chamissoniana)

Established specimen on a hillside. Photo Credit: K. Wood
  • Global Rank: T1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Endangered
  • Family: Violaceae
  • State: HI
  • Nature Serve ID: 153220
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 04/01/1990

There are four threatened Viola species endemic to Hawaii (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [USFWS] 2001). Viola chamissoniana itself has three recognized subspecies found on numerous Hawaiian islands (ssp. chamissoniana, ssp. robusta, and ssp. tracheliifolia). (Wagner et al. 1999) Of these three, ssp. chamissoniana is the rarest and found only in 6 populations on the island of Oahu. V. chamissoniana subsp. chamissoniana, a member of the violet family (Violaceae) is a small, branched shrub that has stems that root along the lower part when the individual plant is decumbent (reclining on the ground with the tip ascending). The petioles of V. chamissoniana subsp. chamissoniana are usually less than one centimeter long with one to two flowers per peduncle. Fruiting and flowering of V. chamissoniana subsp. chamissoniana occurs during April, August, and October.

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Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Endemic to the Waianae Mountains of Oahu. This taxon is currently known from 5 sites with fewer than 300 plants. Most of the plants are in areas that have been degraded by feral goats in recent decades. Feral pigs also represent a threat to some populations. Competition with alien plants is a problem at all sites.

  • 01/01/2010

Threats to V. chamissoniana subsp. chamissoniana include habitat degradation by feral pigs and goats. Invasions of alien species such as Schinus terebinthifolius (Christmas berry), Erigeron karvinskianus (daisy fleabane), and Milinis minutiflora (molasses

  • 01/01/2010

Number of Populations: 6 (USFWS 2001) Number of Plants: 375 (USFWS 2001)

  • 01/01/2010

V. chamissoniana subsp. chamissoniana is being propagated by the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) (USFWS 1998). The seeds of V. chamissoniana subsp. chamissoniana have been tested by the Center for Conservation Research and Training (CCRT), and were found to be orthodox and able to tolerate freezing and drying. The laboratory germination time was 4 weeks (Yoshinaga 2002).

  • 01/01/2010

NTBG currently has an ex situ holding of seven seeds in its seed bank, which represents one out of the six remaining populations.

  • 01/01/2010

1. Construct enclosures or strategic barrier fences around known populations of V. chamissoniana subsp. chamissoniana to reduce the impacts of feral ungulates. Removal of those feral ungulates would also help in restoration of the native ecosystem. 2. Control competing alien plant species within the enclosures especially around populations were there are a few individuals (Kamaileunu Ridge, Palikea Ridge, Puu Hapapa, Halona, and Puu Kumakalii). 3. Provide protection from fire by coordinating a fire protection plan for endangered plant species on Honolulu City and County and federal lands. 4. Determine the genetic distinctiveness of V. chamissoniana subsp. tracheliifolia and V. chamissoniana subsp. chamissoniana due to taxonomic status concerns. 5. Conduct pollination biology studies. 6. Map genetic diversity in the surviving populations of V. chamissoniana subsp. chamissoniana. 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 V. chamissoniana subsp. chamissoniana. 3. Surveys ex situ holdings so that molecular fingerprinting can be done. Recommendations derived from M.H. Chapin and M. Maunder.


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Taxon Viola chamissoniana ssp. chamissoniana
Authority Ging.
Family Violaceae
CPC Number 9189
ITIS 195689
Common Names 'olopu | pamakani
Associated Scientific Names Viola chamissoniana ssp. chamissoniana
Distribution V. chamissoniana subsp. chamissoniana is endemic to Oahu and was historically known from the central to southern Waianae Mountains, from Makaleha Valley to Cachexia. This species now occurs only on Ka
State Rank
State State Rank
Hawaii S1

V. chamissoniana subsp. chamissoniana grows on dry cliffs in mesic shrublands at approximately 700 to 1,000 meters elevation. (Wagner et al. 1999)Associated species of V. chamissoniana subsp. chamissoniana include, Bidens sp. (kookoolau), Carex meyenii (no common name [NCN]), Eragrostis variabilis (kawelu), Metrosideros polymorpha (ohia), and Styphelia tameiameiae (pukiawe).

Ecological Relationships

V. chamissoniana subsp. chamissoniana is a hermaphrodite that is presumed to be insect-pollinated. Its seeds are bird dispersed (Sakai et al. 1995).

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

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