One lone na‘u on Oahu now protected

June 13th, 2011
By

The na‘u is a native Hawaiian gardenia. Photo by Hank Oppenheimer.

The na‘u is a native Hawaiian gardenia. Photo by Hank Oppenheimer.

The lone na‘u existing in the wild on Oahu now has a protective enclosure around it, thanks to funding from Hawaiian Springs for the state Plant Extinction Prevention (PEP) program.

Volunteers from the state Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), Ka‘ala Farms,  U.S. Army, and Board of Water Supply, along with staff from the Oahu Plant Extinction Prevention program, put up the fence in May.

For those of you who are curious what a na‘u is (also known as nanu, Gardenia brighamii in Latin), it's an endangered native Hawaiian gardenia that grows in lower-elevation dryland slopes. The na‘u has glossy green leaves and solitary white flowers with 6 or 7 lobes (not to be mistaken with tiare).

Some of you may be lucky enough to have one growing in your yard — and you can actually plant one in your garden, if you'd like. Thanks to all of the readers who responded with so much enthusiasm to the column on the na‘u.

However, when it comes to the wild, only one known na‘u tree remains in the Nanakuli Forest Reserve, according to staff from PEP. Another 12 na‘u trees dwell on Lanai.

The wire enclosure around the last remaining na‘u on Oahu will help prevent feral animals, including cows and pigs, from damaging the endangered plant.

Among volunteers that helped put up the protective fence around the na‘u were: Kawika Shizuma of the State of Hawaii's Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW); Susan Ching, Oahu Plant Extinction Prevention (PEP) Program Coordinator; Bruce Koebele, Ka‘ala Farms native plants specialist; Matthew Burt of the U.S. Army; Stefanie Jefts of Oahu PEP; Ryan Peralta, DOFAW Forest Management Supervisor; and Amy Tsuneyoshi of the Board of Water Supply. Courtesy photo.

Among volunteers that helped put up the protective fence around the na‘u were: Kawika Shizuma of the State of Hawaii's Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW); Susan Ching, Oahu Plant Extinction Prevention (PEP) Program Coordinator; Bruce Koebele, Ka‘ala Farms native plants specialist; Matthew Burt of the U.S. Army; Stefanie Jefts of Oahu PEP; Ryan Peralta, DOFAW Forest Management Supervisor; and Amy Tsuneyoshi of the Board of Water Supply. Courtesy photo.

Interesting in helping to preserve the fragrant na‘u? PEP is in the process of gaining 501(c)(3) status. If you are interested in making a donation, contact Joan Yoshioka, statewide PEP representative, at (808) 974-4388 or jyoshioka@dofawha.org. More about the Hawaii PEP can be found at http://pepphi.org.

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