Hawaii Violet / Center For Plant Conservation
Search / Plant Profile / Viola lanaiensis
Plant Profile

Hawaii Violet (Viola lanaiensis)

Closeup of white flower and clustered lanceolate leaves. Note the open capsule (top left-hand corner). Photo Credit: Dr. Gerald Carr © 19775-2005
  • Global Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Endangered
  • Family: Violaceae
  • State: HI
  • Nature Serve ID: 154299
  • Lifeform: Shrub, Forb/herb, Subshrub
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 03/05/1993

Viola lanaiensis is one of seven species of violets native to the Hawaiian Islands, and is one of three species of Hawaiian violets listed as endangered by both Federal and State governments. Viola lanaiensis is restricted to the island of Lana`i, where fewer than 80 plants still survive in scattered sites on ridges and slopes of Lanaihale in dry to mesic forest. The introduction of axis deer and mouflon sheep to Lana`i have likely played a major role in the disappearance of Viola lanaiensis. Currently, the remaining wild plants are enclosed within protective fencing to prevent browsing and grazing activities. Viola lanaiensis, as well as the other Hawaiian violets, possess woody stems, which is unique amongst the members of the Violet family. Viola lanaiensis produces small flowers that are white and purple tinged, and lance-shaped leaves which form clusters on its stem tips.

Where is Hawaii Violet (Viola lanaiensis) located in the wild?


Viola lanaiensis has been observed on moderate to steep slopes from lower gulches to ridgetops, 850 to 980 meters in elevation in mesic to wet forest.


This species is found in Lana`ihale, Lana`i.

States & Provinces:

Hawaii Violet can be found in Hawaii

Which CPC Partners conserve Hawaii Violet (Viola lanaiensis)?

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

  • 10/01/2020
  • Seed Collection

Seed banking (National Tropical Botanical Garden)

  • 10/01/2020
  • Propagation Research

Propagation (Harold L. Lyon Arboretum) (USFWS 1995) and (Nellie Sugii Pers. Comm. 2001)

  • 10/01/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Seed banking (National Tropical Botanical Garden)

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

G1S1.1 Endemic to the island of Lanai. This species is restricted to the moist and wet forests of Lanai. These habitats are limited to an 8 km long strip along the summit ridge of the island. There are only 3 current occurrences, totaling fewer than 90 plants. The species and its habitat are threatened by deer and a number of alien plant species.

Nellie Sugii
  • 01/01/2010

Browsing by deer Alien plant competition Development Invertebrates Small gene pool (USFWS 1995, 2001)

Nellie Sugii
  • 01/01/2010

4 sites 4 populations Less than 80 individuals (Recovery Plan 1995) and (USFWS 2001)

Nellie Sugii
  • 01/01/2010

Seed banking (National Tropical Botanical Garden) Propagation (Harold L. Lyon Arboretum) (USFWS 1995) and (Nellie Sugii Pers. Comm. 2001)

Nellie Sugii
  • 01/01/2010

Fencing (USFWS 1995)

Nellie Sugii
  • 01/01/2010

Feral and domestic animal control Invertebrate control Alien plant control Monitoring Surveying (USFWS 1995, 2001)

Nellie Sugii
  • 01/01/2010

Propagation Genetic studies Seed banking Plant biological and physiological studies (USFWS 1995)


Be the first to post an update!

Taxon Viola lanaiensis
Authority W. Becker
Family Violaceae
CPC Number 9737
ITIS 195692
Duration Perennial
Common Names Hawaii violet | Hawai'i violet
Associated Scientific Names Viola helenae var. lanaiensis | Viola lanaiensis | Viola heleniae var. lanaiensis
Distribution This species is found in Lana`ihale, Lana`i.
State Rank
State State Rank
Hawaii S1
Ecological Relationships


Donate to CPC to Save this Species

CPC secures rare plants for future generations by coordinating on-the-ground conservation and training the next generation of plant conservation professionals. Donate today to help save rare plants from extinction.

Donate Today