Polyscias waimeae 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Apiales Araliaceae

Scientific Name: Polyscias waimeae (Wawra) Lowry & G.M.Plunkett
Tetraplasandra sherffii O.Deg. & I.Deg.
Tetraplasandra waimeae Wawra
Tetraplasandra waimeae Wawra var. angustior Sherff
Tetraplasandra eltsoni Hochr.
Triplasandra waimeae (Wawra) A.Heller
Taxonomic Source(s): Wagner, W.L., Herbst, D.R. and Lorence, D.H. 2005 onwards. Flora of the Hawaiian Islands website. Available at:

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-07-12
Assessor(s): Adams, J.W.A.
Reviewer(s): Walsh, S.
Contributor(s): Nyberg, B. & Wood, K.
Polyscias waimeae is assessed as Endangered under criterion B. Both the area of occupancy and extent of occurrence are within the thresholds for Endangered (50 km2 and 250 km2 respectively) and the species occurs in three threat-defined locations. There is decline in the area/extent/quality of the habitat due to the impacts of invasive species and these are ongoing with no stop to them in the foreseeable future. This assessment may change in the future with more geospatial or observational data from monitoring.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This Hawaiian endemic is confined to the island of Kauaʻi and found within an elevation range of 640 to 1,220 m.
Countries occurrence:
United States (Hawaiian Is.)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:50Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):UnknownEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:250
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:3Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:UnknownLower elevation limit (metres):640
Upper elevation limit (metres):1220
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Population estimates have indicated that there are about 18,000 individuals that occur in three subpopulations. The largest subpopulation contains approximately 10,500 individuals.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:18000Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:UnknownPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:3
All individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species occurs in wet forests. The taxon is a tree found in Hawaiian mesic to wet forests dominated by Metrosideros polymorpha. Other associated native plant species may include Claoxylon sandwicense, Perrottetia sandwicensis, Psychotria greenwelliae, P. mariniana, Zanthoxylum kauaense, Diplazium sandwicianum, Kadua affinis, Dodonaea viscosa, Leptecophylla tameiameiae, Antidesma platyphylla, Planchonella sandwicensis, Xylosma hawaiiense, Alyxia stellata, Chamaesyce atrococca, Carex alligata, Cyrtandra kauaiensis, Charpentiera elliptica, Dianella sandwicensis, Doodia kunthiana, Dryopteris wallichiana, Scaevola procera and Rubus hawaiiensis.
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There is no record of specific uses for Polyscias racemosa, but there is for P. sandwicensis where the wood was used for stilts in a game called Kukuluaeʻo (Gon 2008).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

Major threats to this taxon include predation and habitat degradation by non-­native animals, particularly pigs, goats, deer and rats. Non-native, invasive plant taxa are also a major threat, as they displace the taxon and significantly alter the native habitat upon which it depends. These invasive plant taxa include Rubus argutus, Axonopus fissifolius, Melinus minutiflora, Bryophyllum pinnatum, Grevillea robusta, Hedychium gardnerianum, Lantana camara, Cyperus meyenianus, Myrica faya, Passiflora tarminiana, Psidium cattleianum, Senna suratatensis, Setaria parviflora and Kalanchoe pinnnata. In addition, Polyscias waimeae has a climate change vulnerability index score of 0.674 (Fortini et al. 2013). This signifies that the species is considered extremely vulnerable to climate change.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Polyscias waimeae is not listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the State of Hawaiʻi. There is currently no recovery plan in place, and monitoring is infrequent. There is some control of weedy taxa by the Kokeʻe Resource Conservation Program. The National Tropical Botanical Garden has done some work and maintains an ex situ conservation collection of seeds.

Citation: Adams, J.W.A. 2016. Polyscias waimeae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T97821101A97821105. . Downloaded on 26 September 2018.
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