A Native Hawaii Fern That Was Thought To Be Extinct Discovered Alive And Well

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01 Oct 2021
6 min read

News Synopsis

On the island of Kauai, a fern species that was thought to be extinct as the last known specimen that died on Hawaii's Big Island has been discovered. The native fern Kihishida, which grows solely on tree trunks, was assumed to be extinct for several years until a new specimen was discovered on Kauai earlier this year by the Hawaii Plant Extinction Program.

In 2015, Adenophorus periens, the last known huge island fern specimen, was discovered dead. As a result, it was classified as vulnerable and likely extinct. It is no longer deemed endangered following the finding of a new specimen on Kauai. There were around 1,300 known fern specimens throughout the state in 1994, but by 2012, there were just 31 in Kauai and less than 10 on the Big Island. Officials from the state will attempt to mass-produce the newly discovered Kauai specimens. Five of the ferns were discovered in three places on Kauai, according to Matt Kia, a botanist with the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources' Rare Botanical Program. They plan to release them back into the wild.

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