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Abutilon eremitopetalum
Alternative Botanical Names
Abortopetalum eremitopetalum
Abutilon cryptopetalum

Common Names
Hidden-petaled 'Ilima
Potential or Traditional Uses
Photo of Abutilon eremitopetalum flowers
Abutilon eremitopetalum is a shrub. The 3 to 5 inch long leaves are heart shaped and covered with short, soft hairs. The edges of the leaves are toothed. One or two flowers grow hanging out of the bases of the leaf stems. The petals are shorter than the green sepals (the leafy base of the flower) and so are "hidden." The white or yellow staminal column protrudes beyond the sepals. (Wagner 1990)
Habitat and Geographic Range
Abutilon eremitopetalum is an endangered endemic Hawaiian plant. It is extremely rare and naturally occurs only in the dry forests of a few valleys on eastern Lana'i at elevations ranging from 700 to 1,700 feet. (Wagner 1990)
Propagation by Seeds
The seeds of Abutilon eremitopetalum are contained in a cylindrical fruit about 1/2 inch in diameter. The fruit is dry when mature and splits into 8 or 9 segments. The 1/16 inch seeds are somewhat kidney-shaped and covered with white or brown fuzz.

Abutilon sp. have a high germination rate (95%). Soaking shortens the germination time from 3 to 6 months for untreated seed to 2 to 4 weeks for soaked seeds. Soaking recommendations vary from 1 to 24 hours using either room temperature or hot water. Soak the seeds until they sink and discard any that float. Seeds should be sown 1/8 inch deep in a well-draining medium such as 3 parts #2 perlite to 1 part #4 Sunshine Mix or 1 part peat to 1 part perlite to 1 part soil. Keep containers in part shade until seeds germinate.

Seed should be dried before being stored. Storage recommendations vary; silica gel and refrigeration may improve the length of time seeds remain viable. Ragone reports 65% germination rate for seeds which had been stored with desiccant at ambient temperature (80 degrees F) and humidity (25%) for 3 months. These seeds were soaked in cold water for 1/2 hour before sowing and took 4 months to germinate. In this report, germination percentages for all seeds stored longer than 3 months dropped to almost zero regardless of treatment before sowing. (Bornhorst 1996; Ragone 1993; Stratton 1998; Wagner 1990)

Propagation by Cuttings
No information located to date.
Propagation by Division
Not applicable
Propagation by Air Layers
No information located to date.
Propagation by Grafting
No information located to date.
Propagation by Tissue Culture
No information located to date.
Bornhorst, Heidi L. 1996. Growing native Hawaiian plants: a how-to guide for the gardener. Honolulu: The Bess Press. p. 47.

Ragone, Diane, (Program Coordinator). 1993. Hawaii Plant Conservation Center - Collection & Propagation Project: Final Report (USFWS Grant 14-48-0001-92581). Lawai, Hawaii: National Tropical Botanical Garden. p. 8.

Stratton, Lisa, Leslie Hudson, Nova Suenaga, and Barrie Morgan. 1998. Overview of Hawaiian dry forest propagation techniques. Newsletter of the Hawaiian Botanical Society 37 (2):13, 15-27.

Wagner, Warren L., Darrel R. Herbst, and S. H. Sohmer. 1990. Manual of the flowering plants of Hawai'i. 2 vols., Bishop Museum Special Publication 83. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press and Bishop Museum Press. p. 871-872.

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The image in this record is used with permission from Dr. Gerald Carr's Web site "Hawaiian Native Plants" at

Last updated:
19 August 2001

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