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NTBG finds new stand of rare carnation Schiedea viscosa in the interior forests of Waialae Canyon

Nina Rønsted Ph.D., Director of Science and Conservation

Schiedea is an endemic Hawaiian plant lineage related to carnations and the fifth-largest plant radiation in Hawaii with 34 species (3 currently considered extinct). It has evolved in habitats ranging from exposed sea-cliffs in salt-spray to remote subalpine cliffs and also in dry to wet shrublands and forests.

Schiedea viscosa (Caryophyllaceae)
Schiedea viscosa (Caryophyllaceae)

Species of Schiedea are also renowned for their diversity in breeding systems. NTBG is partnering on an NSF grant to study molecular markers within Schiedea to better understand trait evolution, including habitat shifts, breeding systems, pollination biology, and reproductive isolating mechanisms. Since the publication of the Manual of Flowering Plants in 1990, NTBG Science Dept. had rediscovered four species previously thought extinct and discovered a new species deep within the remote cliffs of Kalalau, Kauai.

Habitat for Schiedea viscosa within the interior cliffs and forested canyons of Kaua`i
Habitat for Schiedea viscosa within the interior cliffs and forested canyons of Kauai

One rediscovered Kauai species, Schiedea viscosa, is now known from around 100 plants occurring in nine subpopulations. In early August 2020, NTBG Science staff recently located ten additional individuals while conducting research in the interior forests of Waialae Canyon. Conservation collections were made from seven separate individuals and included more than 4,000 seeds.