Kanaloa (botany)

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Kanaloa kahoolawensis, the Ka palupalu o Kanaloa, is a species of flowering plant in the legume family, Fabaceae, that is endemic to Hawaii. It is the only plant the monotypic genus Kanaloa. It was discovered in 1992 by the botanists Ken Wood and Steve Perlman of the National Tropical Botanical Garden on Kahoʻolawe, a small island that was formerly used as a bombing range. They found the only two specimens of the plant ever observed growing in the wild, both on a sea stack just offshore of the ʻAleʻale area.[2] It is possible that the range of this species previously included other Hawaiian islands; fossilized pollen from plants known to be in the same genus has been found in core samples taken from sinkholes in Oʻahu's ʻEwa Plain,[3] Maui, and Kauaʻi's Makauwahi Cave.[4] Whether the pollen grains in the samples belong to K. kahoolawensis or not is not known. As Kahoʻolawe was united with Maui and other islands prehistorically (see also Maui Nui), this is entirely possible as regards the Maui finds. On the other hand, it is far more likely than not that the Oʻahu remains represent another, extinct, species - possibly an ancestor of K. kahoolawensis -, judging from the biogeography of Hawaiian land plants.[5][6][7]

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