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Volcano Rare Plant Facility
Located at the UH Volcano Agricultural Experimental Field Station, the Volcano Rare Plant Facility was established in November 1993. It began as a collaboration between the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the State Division of Forestry and Wildlife and the University of Hawaii. The facility participates in a State-wide program to prevent native plant extinction. 146 threatened and endangered plant species occur on the Island of Hawaii. 24 of those are already considered to be extinct in the wild. Through various methods of plant propagation and by maintaining a gene bank of plants and seeds we work to increase these plant numbers and preserve genetic diversity. We are able to work with many species from a variety of habitats by collaborating with a number of land managers and programs. Our partners include; DOFAW’s Natural Area Reserve System, and Forestry, the Plant Extinction Prevention Program, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge, Kamehameha Schools and the other members of Three Mountain Alliance which coordinates projects on about one million acres of conservation land. Our many partners provide secure fenced and ungulate free out planting sites from coastal to sub alpine habitat.
Our largest program included out planting more than 35,000 Mauna Loa Silverswords (Argyroxiphium kauense) in 4 main out plant sites. In Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in Kahuku, and in State forestry lands in Kapapala and in Waiakea and Kulani.
One of the rare lobiliads that we have been working with is Clermontia peleana subsp peleana. There are only 7 known wild plants of this species. Through air layering and raising these in the greenhouse we have been able to generate 4000 plants that are now out planted in various protected sites.
Since its inception in 1993 we have propagated for out planting more than 75,000 threatened and endangered Big Island plant species.
In the past 5 years, more than 25,000 individual plants representing many of the threatened and endangered species have been out-planted into the natural habitat with huge success.
The staff at VRPF includes; Patty Moriyasu, Research Associate and Jaime Enoka, Assistant Plant Propagator.