Native Plants Thriving After 20 Year Effort

Jul 25, 2017

Peleana Lobeliad
Credit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park / Flickr

Two native plant species are thriving today in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.

20 years ago, a team of biologists set out to reintroduce two endangered native plants to the slopes of Mauna Loa and Kīlauea.

The Kaʻū silversword and the Pele lobeliad  were both on the brink of extinction because of invasive plants and animals.

In order to reintroduce the plants, scientists had to rediscover and collect samples from both plants.

Rob Robichaux is a Professor at the University of Arizona and works with the Hawaiian Silversword Foundation.

He says the silversword and lobeliad were thought to be extinct.

Credit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park / Flickr

Robichaux says this wouldn’t have been possible without collaboration among state, federal and private entities.

Today, more than a thousand Pele lobeliads and 21,000 silverswords have been successfully reintroduced in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.

You can find more details about the effort in the latest edition of Biological Conservation.