Achyranthes splendens var. rotundata (O`ahu, Wai`anae Mountains, northwestern part, Mākaha and Wai`anae Kai Valleys, plants on vertical or nearly vertical basaltic cliffs in narrow gulches)
Achyranthes splendens Martius ex Moquin-Tandon var. rotundata Hillebrand
Hawaiian names: -
Family: Amaranthaceae (the amaranth family)
Habit: a shrub.
Habitat: dry.
Native, endemic. Recorded from O`ahu, Moloka`i, and Lāna`i; not known to be extant on Moloka`i and Lāna`i.
Federally listed as endangered.

On O`ahu, the taxon is known from three disjunct areas. Two of these areas are not far from the coast, namely the plains of Kalaeloa at the southwestern end of the island, and in the land section of Keawa`ula near the northwestern tip of the island. The third area is inland, on the leeward side of the Wai`anae Mountains in the valleys of Mākaha and Wai`anae Kai. At Kalaeloa, the taxon occurs near sea level in calcareous substrate on plains consisting of emerged reef that was formed at a time when the sea level was higher than it is now. At Keawa`ula the plants grow in basaltic substrate on rocky, south or southwest facing slopes. In Mākaha and Wai`anae Kai, the taxon occurs in very narrow gulches, where the plants are found growing only on vertical or nearly vertical cliffs that are shaded for much of the day.

At Kalaeloa there is only one sizeable occurrence remaining, consisting of perhaps a few hundred plants. At Keawa`ula, the taxon is nearly extirpated if it is not already extirpated. In Mākaha and Wai`anae Kai, it is difficult to estimate the sizes of the populations as many of the plants are high up on the cliffs, but the total number of mature plants in these two valleys seems to be at least 600 or 700.

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Achyranthes splendens var. rotundata sets:

O`ahu, northwestern end, Keawa`ula, plants on south or south-west facing slopes, basaltic substrate -
www.flickr.com/photos/53193377@N02/sets/72157629239271849/

O`ahu, Wai`anae Mountains, northwestern part, Mākaha and Wai`anae Kai Valleys, plants on vertical or nearly vertical basaltic cliffs in narrow gulches -
www.flickr.com/photos/53193377@N02/sets/72157629312614406/

O`ahu, southwestern end, Kalaeloa, plants on calcareous substrates, on plains consisting of emerged reef -
Photographs to be posted.
15 photos · 23 views