Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Phyllostegia hispida - Endangered Species

Phyllostegia hispida, a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, growing
in the Nature Conservancy's Kamakou Preserve in Molokai.

The Obama Administration has listed its first endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. Phyllostegia hispida, a plant native to the island of Molokai in the Hawaiian archipelago, was thought to be all but extinct. From 1910 to 1996, only 10 individuals were recorded, but in recent years they have died. Only 238 plants of this species exist today.

Since 2007, 24 wild plants have been discovered, and over 100 individuals propagated from cuttings have been outplanted in the Kamakou Preserve. It is found only in wet forests at elevations of 2,300–4,200 feet (700–1,300 m) on the island of Molokai in Hawaii. This green vine's loosely spreading branches often form a large mass.

"Now that this rare plant species is protected by both federal and state laws, it is our hope that it will come to the forefront of public attention along with Hawaii's other numerous endangered plants," said Patrick Leonard, field supervisor for the Fish and Wildlife Service's Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office. *

*For the complete article on this history making event, visit the Environment News Service.

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