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Hibiscus arnottianus subsp. immaculatus | by D.Eickhoff
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Hibiscus arnottianus subsp. immaculatus

Kokiʻo keʻokeʻo or Molokaʻi white hibiscus

Malvaceae (Mallow family)

Endemic to the Hawaiian Islands (Molokaʻi)*

IUCN: Endangered

Oʻahu (Cultivated)


* This subspecies of kokiʻo keʻokeʻo is extremely rare in its native habitat on Molokaʻi where the few remaining plants grow in wet to mesic forests (50-1600 ft.).


The two native Hawaiian white hibiscuses, Hibiscus arnottianus and H. waimeae, are the only known species of hibiscuses in the world known to have fragrant flowers!


Early Hawaiians used these flowers medicinally. The bases of the buds of hau hele (H. arnottianus, H. furcellatus) were chewed by the mother and given to infants as a laxative. Too, children would chew and swallow seeds for general weakness of the body.



The generic name Hibiscus is derived from hibiscos, the Greek name for mallow.


The specific epithet is named in for George Walker Arnott (1799-1868), Scottish botanist, traveler, collector and director of the Glasgow Botanic Gardens.


Flowers have a white staminal (stamen) column and fittingly has the subspecific epithet immaculatus, Latin for "without spots" or "pure."

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Taken on June 3, 2006