SCIENTIFIC NAME: Hibiscus brackenridgei
HABITAT: Dry to moderately moist tropical forest
LIFE HISTORY: Tall shrub with three-pronged, maple-like leaves; grows up to 10 feet. Biannual blooming period lasts two months.
THREATS: Habitat loss due to development; overgrazing by feral animals and livestock
RANGE: Lana'i, Maui and Hawaii
CURRENT POPULATION: 60
This rare, indigenous, creamy-yellow hibiscus, called Ma'o hau hele by Hawaiian natives, is Hawaii's state flower. A mere 60 plants remain on three Hawaiian islands.
Like many other native plants and animals in Hawaii, Hibiscus brackenridgei runs the risk of being squeezed out by non-native species. Road construction, fires and possible predation by wild pigs and livestock also threaten the survival of this rare flower, listed as an endangered species since 1994.
Under the act, critical habitat was designated for the flower in 2002, and federal efforts are underway to save the few plants that remain.