Mountain Alsinidendron / Center For Plant Conservation
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Plant Profile

Mountain Alsinidendron (Alsinidendron trinerve)

Closeup of young specimen bearing unopened white flowers. Photo Credit: S. Perlman
  • Global Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Endangered
  • Family: Caryophyllaceae
  • State: HI
  • Nature Serve ID: 154644
  • Lifeform: Subshrub, Shrub
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 04/01/1990

There are four threatened Alsinidendron species endemic to Hawaii (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [USFWS] 2001). This species is found only on the island of Oahu, and its three remaining wild populations are drastically declining. In 1998, 108 plants were recorded by USFWS (USFWS 1998). In 2001, the population declined to only 63 individuals (USFWS 2001). A. trinerve, a member of the pink family (Caryophyllaceae) is an erect branched sub shrub, 30 to 80 centimeters (12 to 31 in) tall. This sub shrub has somewhat fleshy leaves that are elliptic-ovate or oblanceolate and are 6 to 8 centimeters (2 to 3 in) long. The inflorescence of A. trinerve has compound cymes, with flowers that are white within and green externally. A. trinerve flowers and fruits throughout the year with the exception of fall (USFWS 1998), and produces an ovoid to subglobose fruit capsule.

Where is Mountain Alsinidendron (Alsinidendron trinerve) located in the wild?


A. trinerve grows on slopes in wet forests or the wetter portions of diverse mesic forest, 900 to 1,230 meters (2,953 to 4,035 ft) elevation (Wagner et al. 1999). Associated species include Coprosma sp. (pilo), Gunnera (apeape), Melicope sp. (alani), Cibotium sp. (hapuu), Antidesma platyphyla (hame), and Pipturis albidus (mamaki).


A. trinerve is endemic to Oahu and was historically found on the north-central and southern Waianae Mountains (Wagner et al. 1999). This species is now known from three extant populations, one on Mt.

States & Provinces:

Mountain Alsinidendron can be found in Hawaii

Which CPC Partners conserve Mountain Alsinidendron (Alsinidendron trinerve)?

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

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Narrowly endemic to two adjacent peaks in the northern Waianae Mountains of Oahu. The three currently known populations contain a total of fewer than 40 plants. The primary threats to the species are feral pigs and alien plants.

  • 01/01/2010

Threats to A. trinerve include: browsing by feral goats and pigs invasion of habitat by the Florida prickly blackberry (Rubus argutus) Trampling and collecting of A. trinerve by humans may also contribute to the decline of the population.

  • 01/01/2010

Number of populations: 3 (USFWS 2001) Number of plants: 63 (USFWS 2001)

  • 01/01/2010

Seeds of A. trinerve have been studied by the Center for Conservation Research and Training (CCRT), the National Seed Storage Laboratory (NSSL), and the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG). The results concluded that the seeds are orthodox, and can tolerate drying and freezing. The laboratory germination time ranged from 3 weeks to 12 months (Yoshinaga 2002). Using allozymes, Weller et al. (1996) found no genetic diversity within sampled individuals of this taxon.

  • 01/01/2010

Forty to forty-five individuals of A. trinerve were outplanted in a fenced and managed area in the Mt. Kaala Natural Areas Reserve (NAR) in 1996. The plants are not doing very well, probably due to over-saturation and low pH in the soil. Over three hundred seedlings are growing at a mid-elevation nursery at the Nike missile site, and are also being propagated at the Lyon Arboretum, NTBG, and the Waimea Arboretum (USFWS 1998). The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii (TNCH) determined that fencing against feral pigs would not be feasible around smaller populations (USFWS 1998). NTBG currently has ex situ holdings of numerous seeds in its seed bank, which represents all three populations. In addition, there are 10 plants that represent two out of the three populations growing in the nursery of the botanical garden. The species is in cultivation in a number of European botanic gardens derived from a Joseph Rock collection made in the 1950s. Seed from A. trinerve stock was repatriated in 1996 to Waimea Arboretum, Oahu, Hawaii (M. Maunder, pers comm. 2002). IIn 2002, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that a designation of critical habitat was prudent for this species. (USFWS 2002)

  • 01/01/2010

1. Construct enclosures to protect its population against feral pigs. Where fencing is not feasible, other methods such as snaring could be implemented. 2. Control competing alien-plant species around the three extant populations of A. trinerve. 3. Conduct pollination biology and seed dispersal studies. 4. Map the genetic diversity in the surviving populations of A. trinerve. Recommendations derived from M.H. Chapin, M. Maunder, and USFWS (1998).

  • 01/01/2010

1. Establish cultivated stocks with full founder representation. 2. Development of proper horticultural protocols and pest management for A. trinerve. 3. Survey ex situ holdings and conduct molecular fingerprinting. Recommendations derived from M.H. Chapin and M. Maunder.


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Taxon Alsinidendron trinerve
Authority Mann
Family Caryophyllaceae
CPC Number 95
ITIS 20234
Duration Perennial
Common Names three-nerved alsinidendron | mountain alsinidendron
Associated Scientific Names Alsinidendron trinerve | Schiedea trinervis
Distribution A. trinerve is endemic to Oahu and was historically found on the north-central and southern Waianae Mountains (Wagner et al. 1999). This species is now known from three extant populations, one on Mt.
State Rank
State State Rank
Hawaii S1
Ecological Relationships


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