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Observations on the Life History of the Endangered Hawaiian Vetch (Vicia menziesii) (Fabaceae) and Its Use by Birds

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Title:Observations on the Life History of the Endangered Hawaiian Vetch (Vicia menziesii) (Fabaceae) and Its Use by Birds
Authors:Ralph, C John
Pearson, Alison P.
Phillips, David C.
Date Issued:Apr 1980
Publisher:University of Hawaii Press
Citation:Ralph CJ, Pearson AP, Phillips DC. 1980. Observations on the life history of the endangered Hawaiian vetch (Vicia menziesii) (Fabaceae) and its use by birds. Pac Sci 34(2): 83-92.
Abstract:The reproductive events in a colony of the rare and localized
Hawaiian vetch were studied for their relevance to the survival of the species.
About 85 individuals were discovered on the island of Hawaii-a substantial
increase in the number of known individuals. The species flowers prolifically,
but individuals apparently do not produce flowers until they are about 2 to 3
years old. Our study shows that the species appears to be susceptible to herbivore
damage and suggests that this is probably the major limiting factor in its present
limited distribution. Native birds were found to use the flowers, probably
as a source of nectar. We speculate that if, as seems at least possible, the species
was formerly more widespread, it was probably a very important food source
for native birds before the advent of herbivorous mammals. It is hoped that
the species can be restored to its previous state of abundance for reasons of
its esthetic qualities and as a valuable food source for wildlife.
Appears in Collections: Pacific Science Volume 34, Number 2, 1980

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