Hibiscus waimeae (Kauai rosemallow)

Hibiscus waimeae
Hibiscus waimeae

Hibiscus waimeae is a flowering plant in the okra family, Malvaceae, It is commonly known as white Kauai rosemallow (Hawaiian: kokiʻo keʻokeʻo, or kokiʻo kea) and it is endemic to the island of Kauaʻi in Hawaii [1].

Habitat and Geographic Range
Hibiscus waimeae grows in the moist forests of Kaua’i from 800 to 3,900 feet. It is found from upper Waimea canyon to the western and northern coasts of island of Kauaʻi [2]. Hibiscus waimeae has two subspecies. H. waimeae subsp. waimeae is found in the western and southwestern parts of the island, where it grows in the Waimea Canyon area and valleys that face the ocean [3]. H. waimeae subsp. hannerae is rarer and endangered species of hibiscus and it occur in the northwestern part of the island of Kauaʻi [8] where it grows in the Hanakapiʻai, Limahuli, and Kalihi Wai valleys [4].

This hibiscus species is a small, gray-barked tree up to 30 feet height. The upper surface of the
leaves is light green when the lower surface is covered with velvety hairs which make it
appear grayish. The leaves are round or oval and up to 2 to 7 inches long and 1 to 5 inches wide. The single flowers of Hibiscus waimeae last only one day. The flowers are white when it open in the morning and fade to pink in the afternoon. The staminal column is pink to crimson. There are two documented subspecies of Hibiscus waimeae. Subspecies hannerae has larger leaves and smaller flowers, about 2 inches in diameter.


  1. “Hibiscus waimeae” (http://www.natureserve.org/explorer/servlet/NatureServ e?searchName=Hibiscus+waimeae+). NatureServe Explorer. NatureServe. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
  2. Wagner, Warren L., Darrel R. Herbst, and S. H. Sohmer. 1990. Manual of the flowering
    plants of Hawai’i. 2 vols., Bishop Museum Special Publication 83. Honolulu: University of
    Hawaii Press and Bishop Museum Press. p. 888-889.
  3. “Hibiscus waimeae subsp. waimeae” (http://ntbg.org/plants/plant_details.ph p?plantid=6271). Meet the Plants. National Tropical Botanical Garden. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
  4. Little Jr., Elbert L.; Roger G. Skolmen (1989). “Kokiʻo keʻokeʻo, native white hibiscus” (http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/forestry/trees/CommonTreesHI/ CFT_Hibiscus_arnottianus.pdf) (PDF). United States Forest Service.

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