The Akoko that hid in plain sight

Here is a shot I took of the Pali lookout. It is a very popular tourist location here on O’ahu. Aside from the great view of the windward side of the island, it was also the site of the Battle of Nu’uanu in 1795. But it also held a wonderful secret.

‘Akokos (Chamaesyce spp.) are variable plants that are found throughout the island chain. Some species are quite common, others are very rare. One of these rare species is Chamaesyce deppeana. This plant was really only known from collections in the late 1800’s from the southern Ko’olaus. By 1980, it was considered extinct. It was rediscovered in 1986… at the Pali lookout of all places.

Take a look at the top picture. That area on the left is where thousands of people walk around daily taking pictures. But the rock face on the right, that is where this plant was rediscovered. We are not talking about the Pali lookout vicinity. The habitat IS the Pali lookout. These plants were hiding in plain sight. I’m sure untold numbers of people must have seen this plant that botanists hadn’t seen in decades, they just didn’t know what they were looking at.

So here’s a picture of this Akoko. It is an example of us living with endangered species. Except for the longest time, we had no idea we actually were.

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One Response to The Akoko that hid in plain sight

  1. papa says:

    I remember plants like this when I was growing up…..right there in our backyard

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