Hawaiian White Hibiscus Facts
- Firstly, the truly stunning Hawaiian White Hibiscus represents yet another rare plant species native to a small geographic range. Quite sadly, the gorgeous species currently appears to exist on only two islands.
- Secondly, however, even in these locations, this dazzling beauty exists only within a highly specific habitat type. Unfortunately, this fact also renders it highly vulnerable to multiple ongoing threats to its existence.
- These primarily include, but are not limited to habitat loss and, of course, the ever-accelerating effects of climate change. Further, the habitat loss comes largely in the form of man’s use of its habitat for the construction of homes.
- The Hawaiian White #Hibiscus is a rare plant native to the Hawaiian islands of #Oahu and Moloka'i only. Click To Tweet
Hawaiian White Hibiscus Physical Description
Most notably, the stunningly beautiful Hawaiian White Hibiscus holds a remarkable ability. That’s due to the fact that it actually has the ability to grow in either of two forms. As a result of this ability, it develops as either a small tree or shrub.
This places it, much like the equally amazing Devil’s Walking Stick among the few plants with this versatility. Furthermore, in height, it averages between 15-20 ft (4.6-6.1 m). However, exceptional individuals sometimes reach as much as 30 ft (9.2 m).
The crowns of these trees grow as large as 20 ft (6.1 m) in diameter. Its appearance also varies greatly between individual specimens and may be either compact or open in structure. The leaves of the Hawaiian White Hibiscus typically develop an impressive nature.
That’s due to the remarkable fact that these develop as smooth, but with slightly toothed edges that average roughly 5 in (12.7 cm) in length. Meanwhile, the flowers appear white, grow singly, and may be as much as 4 in (10 cm) wide when open.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Magnoliophyta
- Class: Magnoliopsida
- Order: Malvales
- Family: Malvaceae
- Genus: Hibiscus
- Species: H. arnottianus
Hawaiian White Hibiscus Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
First of all, as its very name obviously suggests, the gorgeous Hawaiian White Hibiscus evolved as solely native to the region now known as Hawaii. However, even there it has a limited range, only appearing on the two islands of Oahu and Moloka’i.
Further, the plant also requires a highly specific habitat in which to thrive. Unfortunately, this only serves to compound its precarious position. In its native range, this consists of the very wet forest regions in the mountain areas of these two islands.
But, three distinct subspecies of this beautiful plant, each physically quite similar, also exist. To begin with, one of these subspecies grows only in the mountains of Oahu. It appears at elevations ranging between 390-2,500 ft (119-762 m).
Another of these subspecies typically prefers only altitudes ranging between 650-2,200 ft (198-670 m). The third subspecies, like the Hawaiian White Hibiscus itself, also remains extremely rare. It grows only in a few valleys on the island of Moloka’i.