Hibiscus waimeae

leaf Main Plant Information

Genus

Hibiscus

Species

waimeae

Subspecies

  • hannerae
  • waimeae

Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • Aloalo
  • Kokiʻo kea
  • Kokiʻo keʻokeʻo

Hawaiian Names

  • Aloalo
  • Kokio kea
  • Kokio keokeo

Common Names

  • Kauaʻi white hibiscus
  • White Kauaʻi rosemallow

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status

Endemic

Endangered Species Status

Federally Listed

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Shrub
  • Tree

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Shrub, Tall, Greater than 10
  • Tree, Small, 15 to 30
  • Tree, Medium, 30 to 50

Mature Size, Width

Cultivated subsp. waimeae can be 20 ft. or more. But more likely around 8-10 ft. wide. The subspecies hannerae from 12 to 14 ft. [Michael DeMotta, National Tropical Botanical Garden]

Life Span

Long lived (Greater than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Container
  • Hedges
  • Screening
  • Specimen Plant

Source of Fragrance

  • Flowers

Additional Fragrance Information

Flowers may be unscented, weakly scented, or very fragrant.

Plant Produces Flowers

Yes

leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type

Showy

Flower Colors

  • Red
  • White

Additional Flower Color Information

Flowers have a red center or staminal (stamen) column.

Blooming Period

  • Year Round
  • Sporadic

Additional Blooming Period and Fruiting Information

The plants may cease to bloom for a short period especially during the winter or early spring months.

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Medium

Leaf Colors

  • Dark Green
  • Medium Green

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

Kokiʻo keʻokeʻo is prone to sucking insects. The Chinese rose beetle can be removed by hand.

leaf Growth Requirements

Fertilizer

Fertilize this hibiscus using a 2-1-3 or 2-.5-3 ratio with minor elements. It is important to keep the phosphorus low because it tends to accumulate and prevents the nitrogen and potassium from working. Minor elements such as magnesium and iron are also important to maintain healthy green foliage. [1]

Pruning Information

While kokiʻo keʻokeʻo takes pruning well, it is best to prune only as needed. This beautiful shrub looks great in its natural free form with an occasional pruning of branches here and there to maintain shape. The subspecies hannerae may require very little or no pruning.

Water Requirements

  • Dry

Additional Water Information

The Kauaʻi white hibiscuses can generally tolerate less water than the Oʻahu white hibiscus (Hibiscus arnottianus).

Soil must be well drained

Yes

Light Conditions

  • Full sun
  • Partial sun

Additional Lighting Information

Subspecies hannerae seems to appreciate a little more shading than subspecies waimeae. [Rick Barboza, Hui Kū Maoli Ola]

Tolerances

  • Drought
  • Wind

Soils

  • Cinder
  • Organic

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • 150 to 1000, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 1000 to 1999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 2000 to 2999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 3000 to 3999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)

Additional Habitat Information

These are Kauaʻi endemics. The subspecies waimeae is found in the western and southwestern valleys of Waimea Canyon, while subspecies hannerae is rare and found Hanakāpīʻai, Limahuli, and Kalihi Wai Valleys in northwestern part of the island.

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

The large Mallow family Malvaceae contains some 2,300 species, with notables such as okra, cacao, durian, baobab, kenaf, and cotton. [3]

There are perhaps as many as 300 species worldwide in the genus Hibiscus. There are six native species of hibiscuses in Hawaii and all but one are endemic.

Kokiʻo keʻokeʻo (Hibiscus waimeae) has two subspecies. The subspecies hannerae is federally listed as an endangered species. It is distinguished by the much larger leaves and smaller flowers than appear in subspecies waimeae.

The two native Hawaiian white hibiscuses, Hibiscus arnottianus and H. waimeae, are the only known species of hibiscuses in the world known to have fragrant flowers!

Early Hawaiian Use

Both native red and white hibiscuses were grown near their houses for their flowers. [2]

Additional References

[1] Jill Coryell, Hibiscus Lady

[2] "Native Planters in Old Hawaii--Their Life, Lore, & Environment" by E. S. Handy and Elizabeth green Handy, page 233.

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malvaceae [accessed 10/14/09]

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