Gardenia brighamii, United States Geological Survey (*)
Gardenia brighamii H.Mann, 1867
* IUCN link: Gardenia brighamii H.Mann (Critically Endangered)
Gardenia brighamii, commonly known as Nānū, Naʻu, or Forest Gardenia, is a species of flowering plant in the coffee family, Rubiaceae, that is endemic to Hawaii.
It inhabits tropical dry forests at elevations of 350–520 m (1,150–1,710 ft). It previously could be found on all main islands, but today populations only exist on Maui, Molokaʻi, Oʻahu, and Lānaʻi, and the Big Island. G. brighamii is a small tree, reaching a height of 5 m (16 ft).
The total population of G. brighamii is between 15 and 20 trees. There are only two plants in the wild on Oʻahu and one on the Big Island. Major threats to the survival of this species include loss of dry forest habitat and the establishment of invasive species, such as Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum).
Native Hawaiians made kua kuku (kapa anvils) and pou (house posts) from the wood of nānū. A yellow kapa dye was derived from the fruit pulp. The white, fragrant flowers are used in lei. Today, it is grown as an ornamental plant on the islands.
1. ^ Bruegmann, M.M. & Caraway, V. 2003. Gardenia brighamii. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 21 August 2007.
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