Getting to know your Hawaiian Lobeliads #33: Cyanea calycina

Cyanea calycina

Cyanea calycina

  • Hawaiian Name: Haha
  • Conservation Status: Endangered
  • Distribution: O’ahu
  • Date photographed: 9/13/2014
  • Ease of viewing: Moderately difficult
  • *Identification: Form– Stems woody, 1-3 m long. Leaves– elliptic to oblanceolate, blades 15-60 cm long, 5.5-14 cm wide, petiole 1-9 cm long. Flower– calyx lobes oblong to ovate, 4-10 mm long; corolla pubescent, 5-8 cm long.
  • Phylogenetic comments: Cyanea calycina is part of the Rollandia radiation within the Acuminata clade. As far as I know  it is still one big polytomy; it is not clear which former Rollandia spp. are more closely related to which. C. calycina itself was recently split from taxa now known as Cyanea lanceolata. Hopefully soon, we will have a better resolution of this part of the lobeliad tree.
  • My notes: Holy smoking polymorphy batman! A few traits seem to be diagnostic ( calyx, leaf texture, etc.) but it seems like every thing else is up in the air. If you do a google image search for C. calycina, you’ll see just how variable this species is. I made it a point to monitor this little guy every few weeks. He rewarded me with some of the darkest, purest red flowers known in the taxa. Cyanea calycina… Cyanea chicanery more like it!
  • Links: Smithsonian Flora of the Hawaiian Islands, UH Botany, Native Hawaiian Plants- Cyanea

*From Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai’i

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