Getting to know your Hawaiian Lobeliads #8: Clermontia oblongifolia

Clermontia oblongifolia

  • Hawaiian Name: Oha wai
  • Conservation Status: Apparently Secure
  • Distribution: O’ahu, Moloka’i, Lana’i (extinct), Maui
  • Date photographed: 1/2/2011
  • Ease of viewing: Easy
  • *Identification: Form– Terrestrial shrub or tree 2-7 m tall. Leaves– oblong, elliptic, or lanceolate; blades 7-19 cm long by 2-5 cm wide; margins callose-crenulate; petioles 1.8-11.5 cm long. Flower– hypanthium hemispherical to obconical, 10-13 mm long; perianth greenish-white to purplish externally, white or cream within, arcuate, distinctly tubular, 50-65 mm long.
  • Phylogenetic comments: Clermontia oblongifolia is currently split into 3 different subspecies. Subsp. brevipes is found on Moloka’i, subsp. mauiensis on Maui, and subsp. oblongifolia on O’ahu.
  • My notes: This is the rarest of the native lobeliads in our restoration site. We have some seedlings; the sole large individual was outplanted at the site about 16 years ago.
  • Links: Smithsonian Flora of the Hawaiian Islands, UH Botany, Native Hawaiian Plants- Clermontia

*From Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai’i

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