Getting to know your Hawaiian Lobeliads #1: Trematolobelia singularis

Trematolobelia singularis

  • Conservation Status: Endangered
  • Distribution: O’ahu (Southern Ko’olau mountains)
  • Date photographed: 10/24/2010
  • Ease of viewing: Difficult
  • *Identification: Form– Typically unbranched shrubs 0.6-1.5 m long. Leaves– linear-elliptic; blades 10-18 cm long by 1-1.8 cm wide; margins callose-crenulate; winged petioles 1-2 cm long. Flower– calyx lobes erect, 4-7 mm long; corolla violet, gently curved, 4-5.5 cm long
  • Phylogenetic comments: Among the different Trematolobelia species in Hawai’i, T. singularis is notable that it typically only has one floral stalk vs. multiple stalks in other Trematolobelias (See Birds of the Pihea Trail). This makes it look more similar to lobeliads in the genus Lobelia sect. Galeatella.
  • My notes: I took a picture of this plant near the summit of the Konahuanui, the highest point in the Ko’olau mountains. It is not an easy plant to see; it took me about 4 hours of strenuous hiking to take this shot. I was pleased to find that there were many more individuals in the general vicinity; mostly on the windward side of the mountain.
  • Links: Trematolobelia singularis SGCN (pdf), Smithsonian Flora of the Hawaiian Islands, UH Botany, Native Hawaiian Plants- Trematolobelia

*From Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai’i

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