Kokiʻo Keʻokʻeo (White Hibiscus)
3 beautiful native white hibiscus…only one is native to Maui Nui
The Hibiscus arnottianus subsp. arnottianus (found on Oʻahu) and Hibiscus waimeae (found on Kauaʻi) do not qualify as a Maui Nui native. The Hibiscus arnottianus subs. immaculatus, with it’s distinct white stamen, is the only Maui Nui native, found on the island of Molokaʻi. Many species of plants and animals adapt and develop traits particular to their habitat, causing them to be endemic to that particular place or island.
Niu (Coconut Palm)
Although some like to argue that the coconut floated to the islands and grew themselves, they are considered Polynesian Introduced. These species are canoe plants that came over with the arrival of Hawaiians and are NOT considered native to Maui Nui. Other Polynesian introduced plants include Taro, Ti leaf, Breadfruit and a variety of others. If you want to include palm trees in your art piece we suggest using the one of the native Maui Lolu Palms or Pritchardia sp. Now be careful cause some are endemic to specific islands….
Open Ocean Species
Several marine mammals and large fish are considered open ocean species. We decided to take the focus of the the exhibition to the fringing reefs and leave it there. Watershed areas do include everything from the top of the mountain down to the reef. So while Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles and Hawaiian Monk Seals are accepted, stay away from our open roaming ocean friends like Humpback Whales and Dolphins. Again if you have questions please call us and ask , we would be happy to confirm with you that the ocean species you are thinking of is not considered open ocean.
So after all that, how can I tell what island a species is from?
Many websites & books will list the origin of a species, natural range or native habitat. Often times it will list multiple islands excluding the ones it is not found on. And sometimes it will include them all by saying all Hawaiian islands. It takes some research to find a publication or website that will list a species range. It may take a few places. I suggest these few websites to help you
Native and Naturalized Flowering Plants of Hawaiʻi- Lists flowering plants by their scientific name and what islands they are found on.
Hawaiian Native Plant Genera- UH Botany Departments list of Flowering and Non-Flowering Plants
Native Plants Hawai’i – a very user friendly site to search plants with its natural range listed
Hawaiʻi Biological Survey – Bishop Museum Database
Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk Project (HEAR) – Link will take you directly to the Plants of Hawai’i page. A complete database of plants sortable by common or scientific name. Great photos to work from.
We have other ideas on our artists resources web page and you can always contact us at 573-6999 or at email@example.com if you have any questions about the subjects you are working on. We are happy to help!
For more information on Mālama Wao Akua our Annual Native Species Art Exhibition visit the Art Show home page.
By Allison Wiest