Easter has come and gone, but a flower once thought to be extinct has risen. A member of the hibiscus family, the Hibiscadelphus woodii, had not been spotted since 2009, and in 2016 it was officially added to the extinct species list. However, in February researchers from the National Tropical Botanical Garden spotted the shy flower on Kauai.
Botanist Ken Wood (who first found flower in 1991) and drone specialist Ben Nyberg searched for the elusive flower by hiking and rappelling the dangerous Kalalau Valley cliffs. When they could go no further, they launched the drone. With the drone scanning the cliffside, they first spotted a patch of native Hawaiian plants, then they found it, a living Hibiscadelphus woodii.
Because the fragile flower is susceptible to changes in its environment, especially human encroachment and invasive species, the flower basically can no longer be seen by the naked, human eye. Over the years, botanists have tried growing the flower in greenhouses and other secured environments, but every effort resulted in failure.
As long as the cliffs of the Kalalau Valley remain impassable by man, the beautiful flower has a shot at survival. Of course, drone pictures will be only way to see them, but that's a far better alternative to extinction.
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