Abutilon eremitopetalum

leaf Main Plant Information

Genus

Abutilon

Species

eremitopetalum

Common Names

  • Hidden-petaled abutilon
  • Hidden-petaled ilima

Synonyms

  • Abortopetalum eremitopetalum
  • Abutilon cryptopetalum

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leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status

Endemic

Endangered Species Status

Federally Listed

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Sprawling Shrub
  • Shrub

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Shrub, Small, 2 to 6
  • Shrub, Medium, 6 to 10

Life Span

Long lived (Greater than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Screening
  • Specimen Plant

Additional Landscape Use Information

Certainly not the most impressive of the native abutlion species, but nonetheless, a unique and rare addition to a native landscape! They are rather easy to grow and maintain in a landscape and perform much like koʻoloa ʻula. With its attractive silvery-greenish foliage, this plant can be used as an accent shrub.

Additional Fragrance Information

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Plant Produces Flowers

Yes

leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type

Not Showy

Flower Colors

  • Green
  • Greenish-White
  • Red

Additional Flower Color Information

The lime green petals are hidden within the calyx (sepals)--the portion of the flower under the petals. Some calyxes have a flush of light red. The prominent stamen cluster (staminal tube) is coral red and protrudes from the petals/calyx area.

Additional Blooming Period and Fruiting Information

The unique flowers of the hidden-petaled abutilon are indeed hidden among the large leaves and not readily detected from a distance. One or two flowers are on each stem.

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Medium

Leaf Colors

  • Gray / Silverish
  • Light Green

Additional Leaf Color Information

The light green to grayish-green leaves are hairy and heart-shaped.

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

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ʻāāēīūĀĒ¢°ñïèéç'"

leaf Growth Requirements

Pruning Information

Like other members of the Mallow Family (Malvaceae), this rare shrub seems to handle pruning well. Do not remove more than necessary at any one time.

Water Requirements

  • Dry

Additional Water Information

Grows well in dry, warm temperature. Benefits from regular watering.

Soil must be well drained

Yes

Light Conditions

  • Full sun
  • Partial sun

Additional Lighting Information

Does best in full sun conditions.

Tolerances

  • Drought

Soils

  • Clay
  • Cinder
  • Organic

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Lānaʻi

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • 150 to 1000, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 1000 to 1999, 0 to 50 (Dry)

Habitat

  • Terrestrial

Additional Habitat Information

This extremely rare and endangered abutilon is only from dry forests at 690 to 1710 feet in eastern Lānaʻi in Kānepuʻu, Kehewai, and the Kalulu and Maunalei Valleys, but also previously recorded from Kaʻā in the northwest, Mahana (east), and Pāwili (northeast). [1,2]

The plants from Kānepuʻu were introductions by George Munro, with at least some of these from the Kalulu plants. [1]

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

The hidden-petaled abutilon is a smaller relative of hibiscuses belonging to the Mallow family (Malvaceae).

The Hawaiian Islands have four native species: one indigenous Abutilon species (Abutilon incanum) and three endemic endangered species (Abutilon eremitopetalum, A. menziesii, A. sandwicense).

There is no known Hawaiian name for the hidden-petaled abutilon. The common name is taken from the species name eremitopetalum which literally means "hidden petaled."

Background Information

The Saga of the Hidden-petaled abutilon

The hidden-petaled abutilon was "discovered" by George Munro in 1930 in Maunalei Valley. This abuliton has always been considered rare with widely scattered populations. The grazing and antler rubbing activities of Axis deer or chital (Axis axis), introduced to the islands in 1867, has only added to the abutilons decline. In 1951, only two or three plants were found. By the early 1980's this species was considered extinct. However, in 1987 about 60-70 plants were discovered in the north fork of Kaheʻa Gulch on a slope. But by 1990, only 30 plants were observed by Steve Perlman (National Tropical Botanical Garden). By June 1993 the population was reduced to only seven specimens--the rest eaten by deer. [1,2]

Today, about 100 plants are found in a single wild population in Kaheʻa Gulch.

Fortunately, these plants are in cultivation today and grow in several public and private gardens.

Modern Use

Abutilon eremitopetalum is closely related to koʻoloa ʻula (A. menziesii) and will readily hybridize producing an interesting cross with characteristics of both parents.

Additional References

[1] "Recovery Plan for the Lanai Plant Cluster," page 26.

[2] "The Story of Lānaʻi" by George C. Munro," Map (enclosed)

Special Notes and Information

The hidden-petaled abutilon is a smaller relative of hibiscuses belonging to the Mallow family (Malvaceae).

The Hawaiian Islands have four native species: one indigenous Abutilon species (Abutilon incanum) and three endemic endangered species (Abutilon eremitopetalum, A. menziesii, A. sandwicense).

There is no known Hawaiian name for the hidden-petaled abutilon. The common name is taken from the species name eremitopetalum which literally means "hidden petaled."

The Saga of the Hidden-petaled abutilon

The hidden-petaled abutilon was "discovered" by George Munro in 1930 in Maunalei Valley. This abuliton has always been consisdered rare with widely scattered populations. The grazing and antler rubbing activities of Axis deer or chital (Axis axis), introduced to the islands in 1867, has only added to the abutilons decline. In 1951, only two or three plants were found. By the early 1980's this species was considered extinct. However, in 1987 about 60-70 plants were discovered in the north fork of Kaheʻa Gulch on a slope. But by 1990, only 30 plants were observed by Steve Perlman (National Tropical Botanical Garden). By June 1993 the population was reduced to only seven specimens--the rest eaten by deer. [1,2]

Today, about 100 plants are found in a single wild population in Kaheʻa Gulch.

Fortunately, these plants are in cultivation today and grow in several public and private gardens.

Modern Use:

Abutilon eremitopetalum is closely related to koʻoloa ʻula (A. menziesii) and will readily hybridize producing an interesting cross with characteristics of both parents.

Landscape Use:

Certainly not the most impressive of the native abutlion species, but nonetheless, a unique and rare addition to a native landscape! They are rather easy to grow and maintain in a landscape and perform much like koʻoloa ʻula. With its attractive silvery-greenish foliage, this plant can be used as an accent shrub.

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