Back in February after I was nearly killed by a tumbling invasive tree, there seemed to be little hope for one of my two adult stems that was severed right at the base and fell to the ground... That stem was at least 15 years old, quite healthy and just about ready to flower.
So what can be done when plants are so rare that every stem, branch and leaf matters?
Luckily for me, my broken stem was rushed to the Hawaiian Rare Plant Program (HRPP) at Lyon Arboretum on that same day. Think of HRPP as an emergency room focused on the rescue and recovery of Hawai’i’s most critically endangered native plants. Staff there utilize several plant propagation techniques such as grafting, cuttings, air layering, and micro propagation to ensure that even rare plants without viable seeds have a chance.
My chances back in February were slim. Never had such a large Cyanea stem been successfully rescued. However, my severed stem was on the way to HRPP only a few hours after that tree fell on me, thanks to all of that monitoring. Months after arriving, thanks to the care and expertise at HRPP, my once broken stem is doing great. In fact, I have plenty of sprouts that may join me back in the wild sometime in the future…
Staying here at Lyon has not been that bad- in fact I can say I am in the best of company (click on the photos below). HRPP cares for over 140 endangered plant species besides myself! There are so many cousins I had not seen in a long time… Thanks to all of these efforts to keep us around, we are all already planning on a big reunion out there in the wild!