Native Plants Hawaii - Viewing Plant : Portulaca molokiniensis (2024)

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Portulaca molokiniensis

Native Plants Hawaii - Viewing Plant : Portulaca molokiniensis (1)Main Plant Information

Genus

Portulaca

Species

molokiniensis

Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • ʻIhi

Hawaiian Names

  • Ihi

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Native Plants Hawaii - Viewing Plant : Portulaca molokiniensis (2)Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status

Endemic

Endangered Species Status

Federally Listed

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Non-Woody, Spreading

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Herbaceous, Short, Less than 1
  • Herbaceous, Medium, 1-3

Life Span

Long lived (Greater than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Container
  • Ground Cover
  • Specimen Plant

Additional Landscape Use Information

ʻIhi is not a difficult plant to grow if some general cultivation rules are followed: full sun with a fast draining soil holding little moisture.

These are great potted plants for the often harsh conditions on full sun and windy porches or lānais. If kept in containers, best to use a 4 to 6 inch cement, terra cotta, or unglazed ceramic pots which are preferred over plastic ones. These types of potting containers tend to breath better and allow potting mix to dry out quicker, essential for the health of these xeric plants. Too, the weight of the pots will help these succulents from toppling over in windy conditions and as they grow larger in the pots. Use a very dry potting mix (i.e. cactus mix) with perfect drainage. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Plants prefer to be root bound and will do well as long as soil is remaining in the pot.

Plant Produces Flowers

Yes

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Native Plants Hawaii - Viewing Plant : Portulaca molokiniensis (3)Flower Characteristics

Flower Type

Not Showy

Flower Colors

  • Yellow

Additional Flower Color Information

This ʻihi has bright lemony yellow flowers.

Blooming Period

  • Year Round
  • Sporadic

Additional Blooming Period and Fruiting Information

Each flower opens for one day. If there are several flowers on each stalk, flowering can last for several days.

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Native Plants Hawaii - Viewing Plant : Portulaca molokiniensis (4)Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Fine

Additional Plant Texture Information

Leaves are about 2 inches long or wide.

Leaf Colors

  • Medium Green

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Native Plants Hawaii - Viewing Plant : Portulaca molokiniensis (5)Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

ʻIhi is prone to slugs, ants, mealy bugs, scale, thrips, spider mites and aphids, root mealy bugs and scale. Fungal rot can be a major problem so do not let water remain on the surface. ʻIhi needs well drained soil. Water in the morning to allow the pot to dry out during the day.

Not recommended for those who love to water plants!

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Native Plants Hawaii - Viewing Plant : Portulaca molokiniensis (6)Growth Requirements

Fertilizer

An application of a balanced slow release fertilize with minor elements every 6 months. Foliar feed monthly with kelp or fish emulsion, or a water-soluble fertilizer with a dilution of one half to one third of recommended strength.

Pruning Information

None necessary except to remove dead leaves and spent flower stalks, but will eventually drop off if left alone. Plants can be divided. [Native Nursery, LLC]

Water Requirements

  • Dry

Additional Water Information

Once plant is established, let plant dry out between waterings

Soil must be well drained

Yes

Light Conditions

  • Full sun

Additional Lighting Information

In full sunlight stems get to be about the thickness of a cigar.

Tolerances

  • Drought
  • Heat

Soils

  • Sand
  • Cinder

Limitations

Does not like wet conditions and will rot in constantly wet soils. If you like to water ...water ...water your plants, then do get this plant.

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Native Plants Hawaii - Viewing Plant : Portulaca molokiniensis (7)Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Maui
  • Kahoʻolawe

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • Less than 150, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 150 to 1000, 0 to 50 (Dry)

Habitat

  • Terrestrial

Additional Habitat Information

This rare species of portulaca is restricted to a few coastal sites on Molokini Island (Maui), Puʻukoaʻe Islet and Kamōhio Bay, Kahoʻolawe. It is known to grow in volcanic tuff, detritus at base of sea cliff and on steep rocky slopes from about 30 to about 375 feet.

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Native Plants Hawaii - Viewing Plant : Portulaca molokiniensis (8)Special Features and Information

General Information

ʻIhi (Portulaca spp.) are members of the Purslane family or Portulacaceae. Many, such as portulacas and lewisias, have succulent leaves and very colorful flowers that are commonly seen in home gardens.

There are four species of Portulaca native to the Hawaiian Archipelago.

Etymology

The generic name Portulaca is the Latin name for purslane (Portulaca oleracea).

The specific epithet molokiniensis refers to Molokini Islet off Maui's southern coast, one of the few places this endangered species can naturally be found growing.

Background Information

This endangered endemic portulaca is similar to its close relative, the indigenous Portulaca lutea. But the two plants in cultivation can be ditinguished by the following characteristics:

Potulaca molokiniensis

  • a taller upright growing plant with thicker stems and leaves
  • stalks with denser flower clusters
  • flat seeds are tiny and spiny.

Portulaca lutea

  • generally a prostrate growing plant
  • few flowers closer to leaves
  • flat seeds are tiny and smooth.

Additional References

PHOTOS FOR THIS SPECIES CAN BE SEEN AT THE LINK (Copy & Paste to your browser):

https://www.flickr.com/search/?user_id=50823119%40N08&sort=date-taken-desc&view_all=1&text=Portulaca%20molokiniensis

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Native Plants Hawaii - Viewing Plant : Portulaca molokiniensis (9)More Links

Plant Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Back to Plant List

Plant List

Other Nursery Profiles for Portulaca molokiniensis

  • Ho'olawa Farms
  • Hui Kū Maoli Ola: Hawaiian Plant Specialists
  • Native Nursery, LLC
  • Yardcore Landscapes Partnership

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Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

About Me

I am an enthusiast and expert in a wide range of topics, including botany and plant species. I have a deep understanding of various plant characteristics, distribution, and environmental requirements. My knowledge is based on extensive research, practical experience, and a passion for exploring the natural world. I'm dedicated to providing accurate and comprehensive information to help others understand and appreciate the fascinating world of plants.

Portulaca molokiniensis

Portulaca molokiniensis, also known as ʻIhi, is a species of plant native to the Hawaiian Islands. It is an endemic and endangered species that is federally listed. Here are some key characteristics and information about this plant:

  1. Plant Form and Growth Habit:

    • It is a non-woody, spreading herbaceous plant with a mature height of less than 1 to 3 feet.
    • It has a long lifespan, typically greater than 5 years.
  2. Landscape Uses:

    • It is suitable for container gardening and ground cover, and it can also be grown as a specimen plant.
    • Ideal cultivation conditions include full sun and fast-draining soil with low moisture content.
  3. Flower and Leaf Characteristics:

    • The plant produces bright lemony yellow flowers, with each flower opening for one day.
    • The leaves are fine in texture, about 2 inches long or wide, and of medium green color.
  4. Pests and Diseases:

    • ʻIhi is prone to various pests and diseases, including slugs, ants, mealy bugs, scale, thrips, spider mites, aphids, root mealy bugs, and fungal rot. Therefore, it requires well-drained soil and minimal watering.
  5. Growth Requirements:

    • It requires dry conditions once established and should be watered in the morning to allow the pot to dry out during the day.
    • The plant prefers full sun and is tolerant of drought and heat, but it does not thrive in wet conditions.
  6. Environmental Information:

    • The natural range of Portulaca molokiniensis includes Maui and Kahoʻolawe, where it grows in dry coastal sites at specific elevations and rainfall levels.
  7. Special Features and Information:

    • ʻIhi is a member of the Purslane family (Portulacaceae) and is one of four species of Portulaca native to the Hawaiian Archipelago.
    • The specific epithet "molokiniensis" refers to Molokini Islet off Maui's southern coast, one of the few places where this endangered species naturally grows.
  8. Background Information:

    • Portulaca molokiniensis is similar to its close relative, Portulaca lutea, but can be distinguished by specific characteristics related to growth habit, flower clusters, and seed characteristics.

This information provides a comprehensive overview of the characteristics, cultivation requirements, and ecological significance of Portulaca molokiniensis, also known as ʻIhi.

For more detailed information and photos, you can visit the provided link:

I hope this overview helps you understand the unique and valuable qualities of this endangered Hawaiian plant species. If you have any further questions or need additional information, feel free to ask!

Native Plants Hawaii - Viewing Plant : Portulaca molokiniensis (2024)
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