‘Alula on the Brink: Saving the Rarest of Rare

How long distance collaboration can protect Hawai‘i’s plants

NTBG and KCC’s Balance of Nature lecture series continues on Tuesday, November 10, with a free public talk entitled “‘Alula on the Brink: Saving the Rarest of Rare” by Seana Walsh, Conservation Biologist at the National Tropical Botanical Garden. The presentation starts at 5:30 p.m. in the cafeteria at the KCC Campus Center in Puhi.

In her talk, Seana will share her insights into the ‘alula (Brighamia insignis), a plant endemic to Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau which has come to symbolize the plight of rare and endangered native Hawaiian plants. Effectively extinct in the wild, the ‘alula is one of more than 350 federally listed endangered plant species in the Hawaiian Islands.

Grown in conservation collections around Hawai‘i and cultivated commercially outside of the United States, this plant has been the focus of decades of conservation and research efforts by NTBG staff and other partnering organizations.

Pursuing her Master’s Degree in Botany at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Seana conducted research on the ‘alula’s potential insect pollinators and the plant’s genetic diversity among different collections within and outside of Hawai‘i. In her talk, she will share results of her research and explain how sharing genetic resources and collaboration among institutions can lead to more efficient and effective plant conservation.

The “Balance of Nature” lecture series is one of many collaborations between the nonprofit National Tropical Botanical Garden and Kaua‘i Community College. Both NTBG and KCC share a common goal of quality education to truly change lives. NTBG is a not-for-profit institution, headquartered in Kalāheo. KCC, which is part of the University of Hawai‘i system, operates a large campus in Līhu‘e.

For questions about accessibility or to request accommodations, please contact Margaret Clark at (808) 332-7324 ext. 225 at least 10 days in advance.

For information on the institutions, visit their respective websites at www.ntbg.org and kauai.hawaii.edu

Property of the National Tropical Botanical Garden

Seana Walsh, a conservation biologist at NTBG, conducting research on Brighamia insignis, a very rare Hawaiian plant native to Kauai. Courtesy of NTBG.