Awikiwiki planting ceremony held on Lanai to reintroduce endangered perennial vine

A planting ceremony was held last week on Lanai to launch a botanical preservation project to reintroduce a federally endangered perennial vine with dark purple to pink flowers.

Canavalia pubescens, more commonly known as awikiwiki, was planted in Four Seasons Resort Lanai’s Tennis Garden with Pulama Lanai, where they will be protected from non-native herbivores, such as axis deer, and the landscaping team can care for them as they flourish, according to a news release.

ìWe are honoured to participate in this valuable project and support ongoing sustainability efforts across our island,î said Alastair McAlpine, general manager at Four Seasons Resorts Lanai. ìOur guests are eager to learn about Lanai’s rich culture and history through our Love Lanai workshops and Garden Tours and we look forward to sharing this story with them.

The resort’s botanical gardens consist of 12 densely-planted acres with more than 500 species. The island is home to 21 federally threatened and endangered plant species, including a number endemic to Lanai. The awikiwiki planted during the ceremony are from a former Lanai awikiwiki founder near Kaena, on the northwest side of the island.

Authorized seed collection from these plants will be sent to Lyon Arboretum for long term seed storage.

Some seeds will be withdrawn in the next few years when Pulama Lanai and Four Seasons Resort Lanai staff can look forward to the reintroduction of awikiwiki in its native habitat in the Hulopoe-Manele coastal zone.

ìPlans are in place to create a protected area where destructive ungulates (axis deer and mouflon sheep) will be fenced out and plants will have the opportunity to grow,î according to a news release. ìWild awikiwiki plants have not been seen in this area for more than two decades.

Although historically endemic to the Hawaiian Islands of Niihau, Kauai, Maui and Lanai, awikiwiki has most likely from Niihau and Kauai. The species is found in open lava fields, along rocky shorelines, and open dry shrubland to dry forest habitats.

This project is part of ongoing preservation efforts by both organizations: Pulama Lanai’s Conservation Department cares for the island’s ìdiverse species and fragile ecosystemî through the protection and monitoring of native species, control and removal of invasive species and biosecurity, preventing the introduction of any new invasive species.

ìProtecting Lanai’s native ecosystem is part of our larger vision of creating a sustainable island community,î said President of Pulama Lanai, Kurt Matsumoto. ìWe are grateful to the team at Four Seasons Resort Lanai for providing a home for the endangered awikiwiki. Their care will ensure that another species endemic to our island will not be lost forever.


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