Listing: Endangered, Federal Endangered Species Act
The Plant’s Story
Kokia drynarioides is a beautiful tree with large red flowers, found only on the island of Hawaii. It is nearly extinct in the wild, formerly occurring in dry forests on lava fields in the North Kona District. Its population declined through the last century primarily due to cattle and goats browsing on the mature trees and grazing any seedlings that managed to sprout. Kokia seeds are eaten by roof rats that arrived in the 1800s with the ability to climb trees. By the 1980s introduced fountaingrass began to cover the formerly bare lava fields, inhibiting regeneration of the Kokia and other native plants and increasing the frequency and intensity of wildfires. Hawaii has been severely affected by invasive aliens. The National Tropical Botanical Garden, the Hawaii Forest Industry Association, and the Nahelehele Dryland Forest Working Group have made progress in outplanting and fostering K. drynarioides at the Ka’upulehu Preserve in North Kona.
The Artist’s Story: Lesley Randall
The pen and ink technique I use is the traditional form for scientific botanical illustration. Pen and ink allows one to show very fine details that aid in describing a species or in identifying one. Accuracy is of prime importance, but I try to create a piece of beauty as well. I use both the stipple and cross-hatch styles for shading. Once I have completed my pencil sketches, I transfer the drawing to illustration board using tracing paper. First I draw all the outlines in ink, then detail each piece of the drawing.
More of the plant’s story and the artist’s story can be found in the exhibit catalog, available at the exhibition venues or online from the ASBA.