Getting to know your Hawaiian Lobeliads #27: Cyanea lanceolata

Cyanea lanceolata

Cyanea lanceolata

  • Hawaiian Name: Haha
  • Conservation Status: Endangered
  • Distribution: O’ahu (Ko’olau mountains)
  • Date photographed: 7/20/2013
  • Ease of viewing: Difficult
  • *Identification: Form– Stems woody, muricate in juveniles Leaves– elliptic to oblanceolate, blades 15-60 cm long, 5.5-14 cm wide Flower– calyx lobes triangular, 1-3 mm long; corolla glabrous, pale to dark magenta
  • Phylogenetic comments: Formerly part of Rollandia, subspecies lanceolata was elevated to full species status. Where there was once Rollandia lanceolata, now there is Cyanea lanceolata and Cyanea calycina.
  • My notes: Another of the Cyanea spp. on O’ahu that I’ve only recently seen for the first time in the wild. I was very excited to see this particular species because Cyanea lanceolata is the first of the muricate lobeliads I’ve encountered. Thorns and prickles may have evolved in Cyanea in response to browsing pressure from giant flightless ducks (Givnish, 1994). In the picture above, I can almost see the O’ahu Moa Nalo attempting to feed from the plant and moving off in frustration.
  • Links: Smithsonian Flora of the Hawaiian Islands, UH Botany, Native Hawaiian Plants- Cyanea
  • Refs: Givnish, T. J., Sytsma, K. J., Smith, J. F., & Hahn, W. J. (1994). Thorn-like prickles and heterophylly in Cyanea: adaptations to extinct avian browsers on Hawaii?. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences91(7), 2810-2814.
  • Additional Pics:

Cyanea lanceolata prickles

*From Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai’i

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