Isodendrion pyrifolium and Solanum incompletum

Another entry from Taisha, who writes:

Today’s images (original 1 | original 2 | original 3) are of two rare and endangered endemic Hawaiin species, Solanum incompletum and Isodendrion pyrifolium. These photos of cultivated specimens were taken by David Eickhoff (aka D.Eickhoff@Flickr) on the Hawaii’in islands in May of 2008. The first photo shows the foliage of both species, while the other two give you a better idea of Solanum incompletum in flower and fruit. Thanks for sharing, David!

Isodendrion pyrifolium, of the Violaceae, is part of a genus of slender, woody shrubs. Isodendrion is from the Greek isos, equal, and dendron, tree, referring to the subequal petals and woody habit of those within the genus (here’s a picture showing the flower of the species from Cornell’s EES Field Program in Hawai’i). The four known species of Isodendrion are endemic to Hawaii, and are under threat due to urban development, fire, invasive plants, predation, and herbivory. Isodendrion pyrifolium, known as Wahine noho kula, is a branched shrub that was once thought to be extinct, having last been seen in the 1800s. It was rediscovered in North Kona on the island of Hawai’i in the early 1990s. Historically, this species was found on the islands of Ni’ihau, on the slopes of Mount Ka’ala on O’ahu, Moloka’i, Lāna’i, Hawai’I, and reported by Hillebrand in 1888 from Maui.

Solanum incompletum was what caught my eye in the first photograph with its reddish armature on the stems and leaves. This species, known as Pōpolo kū mia or pōpolo, occurs in dry to mesic forest, diverse mesic forest, and subalpine forest. Solanum incompletum is endemic to the islands of Maui, Lāna’i, and Hawai’i, although the book, Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai’i (volume 2), states that it also occurs on Moloka’i, Kaua’i. This species was also thought to be extinct for over 50 years. Despite rediscovery, it remains threatened by feral sheep, goats, pigs, alien plants, and fires.

Isodendrion pyrifolium and Solanum incompletum
Solanum incompletum
Solanum incompletum

3 responses to “Isodendrion pyrifolium and Solanum incompletum”

  1. Barbara

    I think a Solanum like that is currently on display in the Bloedel Conservatory in Vancouver but I thought it had a different species name?

  2. Derry Watkins

    Looks surprisingly like Solanum pyracanthum from Madagascar!

  3. Connie

    Ouch! Do people eat it, too?l

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