Kokia cookei is a small, deciduous tree commonly known as the kokiʻo, Molokaʻi treecotton, Cooke's kokiʻo, or Molokaʻi kokiʻo.
This species is only known to have existed in the lowlands of western Molokaʻi island of the Hawaiian Islands. Presumably, its native habitat was lowland dry forests on the leeward western end of the island. This was all but cut down by Polynesian settlers about the year 1000 CE to make room for agriculture. It seems to have been noted by these settlers, as suggested by the native name hau heleʻula ("entirely red hau"). The three trees initially found grew near Mahana, northeast of Puu Nana. at approximately 200 metres (660 ft) elevation.
Although the original forest ecosystem was destroyed and replaced by shrubland with plants like native ʻilieʻe (Plumbago zeylanica) and introduced flora, Molokaʻi kokiʻo survived initially. It seems to have had some tolerance to habitat change, enabling it to hang on until the 19th century.
It is considered one of the rarest
Its eventual extinction in wild state of the species seems for a large part due to
The wide, large flowers of Molokaʻi kokiʻo would have admitted a wide range of potential pollinators (as opposed to e.g. Hibiscadelphus):
- Maui Nui ʻalauahio, Paroreomyza montana ssp? – extirpated from island (prehistorically?)
- Kākāwahie, Paroreomyza flammea – extirpated from lowlands by 1900, extinct (1963)
- Common ʻamakihi, Hemignathus virens – extirpated from lowlands by 1900
- ʻIʻiwi, Vestiaria coccinea – extirpated from lowlands by 1900
- Black mamo, Drepanis funerea – extinct (1907); not certain if it regularly occurred in habitat
- ʻApapane, Himatione sanguinea – extirpated from lowlands by 1900
- ʻAkohekohe, Palmeria dolei – extirpated from island (1907); not certain if it regularly occurred in habitat
Of these, the ʻIʻiwi was perhaps the most important, given that the other species are/were all either smallish and short-billed (K. cookei has quite large flowers), or did probably not occur in its habitat in significant numbers.
- . Retrieved 19 November 2021.
- ^ "Kokia cookei". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2011-02-21.
- ^ Kokia cookei Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine. Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) (2002). Retrieved 21 April 2011.
- ^ USFWS (1998): Recovery Plan for Kokia cookei. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Portland, OR.
- ^ USFWS. K. cookei Five-year Review. January 2008.
- JSTOR 40166794.
- JSTOR 40166713.