Hibiscus waimeae subsp. hannerae (Malvaceae)

Image by Susan Deans

This attractive plant is one of two subspecies of Hibiscus waimeae, both of which are endemic to the island of Kauaʻi, part of the Hawaiian archipelago. Unlike most species of hibiscus, this species has very fragrant white flowers. Unfortunately, non-native animals damage the wet tropical forests where Hibiscus waimeae subsp. hannerae is found, which is also commonly disturbed by invasive plants. In addition, a suspected decrease in native pollinators may be limiting the species’ ability to successfully reproduce. This subspecies is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List and there are approximately 200 individuals left in the wild.