CPC Plant Profile: Gingerleaf Cyanea
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Plant Profile

Gingerleaf Cyanea (Cyanea asarifolia)

Closeup of inflorescences and leaves on unbranched specimen. Note the white and purple coloration of the corolla. Photo Credit: Elizabeth Huppman
  • Global Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Endangered
  • Family: Campanulaceae
  • State: HI
  • Nature Serve ID: 133722
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 03/05/1993

Discovered fairly recently in 1970, Cyanea asarifolia was known only from a single population of five or six plants above the bed of Anahola Stream on the island of Kaua`i. Recent attempts to relocate this population have failed and this population is now thought to be extinct. In 1991, another population of 14 mature plants and 5 seedlings was discovered at the headwaters of the Wailua River in central Kaua`i. In 1992, Hurricane Iniki heavily damaged the Cyanea asarifolia population, destroying all but 4 or 5 young plants. This single remaining population continues to be vulnerable to hurricanes, natural rock slides, competition with alien plants and animals, and over collecting (USFWS 1987). Cyanea asarifolia is an attractive small shrub with heart-shaped leaves and a beautiful inflorescence comprised of up to 30-40 white with purple striped flowers (Wagner et al. 1999).

Participating Institutions
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  • 09/09/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Seed storage

  • 09/09/2020
  • Propagation Research

Ex situ propagation

  • 09/09/2020
  • Propagation Research

Ex situ propagation

  • 09/07/2020
  • Reintroduction

Kaua`i District Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) has done outplanting and protective fencing for 9 Cyanea asarifolia that have been outplanted in the ""Blue Hole"" area of Mount Waialeale

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Only 2 occurrences of this species have been recorded, both on the island of Kauai. Only 1 occurrence, consisting of 4 or 5 plants, remains. These plants are threatened by feral pigs, slugs, rodents, and landslides.

Nellie Sugii
  • 01/01/2010

Stochastic extinction Reduced reproductive rigor Over-collecting Alien plants Alien animals (USFWS 2001, 1995)

Nellie Sugii
  • 01/01/2010

1 site 1 population At least 10 individuals left (USFWS 2001)

Nellie Sugii
  • 01/01/2010

Ex situ propagation (Harold L. Lyon Arboretum, National Tropical Botanical Garden) Seed storage (National Tropical Botanical Garden) Outplanting (Kauai Department of Forestry and Wildlife) (USFWS 2001, 1995)

Nellie Sugii
  • 01/01/2010

Kaua`i District Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) has done outplanting and protective fencing for 9 Cyanea asarifolia that have been outplanted in the ""Blue Hole"" area of Mount Waialeale. No other additional specific conservation measures are being conducted. (USFWS 1995)

Nellie Sugii
  • 01/01/2010

Propagation and maintenance of adequate genetic stock ex situ should be undertaken immediately. Measures to protect the remaining wild individuals especially from feral pigs, slugs and rodents should be undertaken. (USFWS 2001, 1995)

Nellie Sugii
  • 01/01/2010

Seed banking Genetic study Reproductive biology Optimization of propagation protocols Public education awareness programs (USFWS 1995)


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Taxon Cyanea asarifolia
Authority H. St. John
Family Campanulaceae
CPC Number 9490
ITIS 34676
Common Names Haha | Gingerleaf Cyanea
Associated Scientific Names Cyanea asarifolia | Delissea asarifolia
Distribution Typically, this Cyanea species has been observed in the headwaters of the Wailua River in central Kaua`i and Hawai`i (USFWS 1995).
State Rank
State State Rank
Hawaii S1

This species typically grows in pockets of soil on sheer rock cliffs in lowland wet forests at an elevation of approximately 330 meters (1,080 feet) (Wagner, et al. 1999 & USFWS 1995).

Ecological Relationships

Little is known about the life history of Cyanea asarifolia. Flowering cycles, pollination vectors, seed dispersal agents, longevity, specific environmental requirements, and limiting factors are unknown (USFWS 1995).

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

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