Elegant white hibiscus has been ravaged in the wild
Koki'o ke'oke'o: The immaculate hibiscus
Hibiscus arnottianus subsp. immaculatus
Description: This most elegant plant has a flower that is entirely white, unlike other native white hibiscuses, which have a pinkish-red staminal column. In addition, the petals are longer, more separated and much more narrow than other whites. It also grows more upright (up to about 10 feet) rather than bushy, literally making it stand out above the rest. All native white hibiscuses have a slight fragrance, as does this one.
HUI KU MAOLI OLA,
Koki'o Ke'oke'o grows wild in no other place except Molokai and is the only hibiscus that is entirely white.
This endangered subspecies grows wild only on the island of Molokai -- nowhere else in the world. Only a dozen or so are left in the mesic to wet forests of that island.
Cultural uses: The flower buds of koki'o ke'oke'o are used as a gentle laxative. Cordage also was made from the stripped bark.
Landscape use and care: This koki'o can be planted as an accent in front of a dark background (such as a rock wall or green/red ti leaf background) to show off its beautiful white flowers. Although this plant will thrive in partially shaded areas, it will bloom more in full sun. Daily watering is suggested for those planting in dry areas. Pests such as whiteflies and/or aphids can easily be controlled by standard store-bought pesticides, should the problem arise. Organically rich, well-drained soil will keep this plant healthy for a long time.
It is available at Home Depot for $11.97 or at Hui Ku Maoli Ola Native Hawaiian Plant Nursery for about the same price.
More Information: The rarity of this plant in the wild is a perfect example of the type of damage inflicted on our native flora by feral deer and goats. More effort is needed to prevent these animals from eating our native plants to extinction.
co-owns Hui Ku Maoli Ola, a native Hawaiian plant nursery, with Matt Schirman. Contact him at 295-7777 or e-mail Rick.email@example.com
co-owns Hui Ku Maoli Ola, a native Hawaiian plant nursery, with Matt Schirman. Contact him at 259-6580 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org