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Acacia koa A.Gray, U.S. Expl. Exped., Phan. 15: 480 (1854)
Name Status. Accepted Name
Infra-generic Classification. Section Plurinerves
Notes. (1) Acacia heterophylla and A. koa (from the Hawaiian islands in the Pacific Ocean) are morphologically very similar (e.g. Vassal, 1969), despite being separated by a distance of c. 18 000 km. While various authors have treated these two as separate species (e.g. Pedley 1975, Brown et al. 2012) others have considered them better regarded as a single species (e.g. Bentham 1875, Le Roux et al. 2014). These two island endemic, polyploid species are closely related to the Australian endemic, diploid species A. melanoxylon R.Br. (e.g. Brown et al. 2012). Le Roux et al. (2014) demonstrated that A. heterophylla and A. koa did not arise as a result of two independent long distance dispersal events from Australia, as suggested by Brown et al. (2012). Instead, Le Roux et al. (2014) present genetic evidence that A. heterophylla appears to have reached colonised the Mascarene archipelago from an extreme, long-distance dispersal event from Hawaii, c. <1.4m years ago. Despite the genetic evidence to the contrary that is presented by Le Roux et al. (2014), A. heterophylla and A. koa are here treated as separate species until such time as the morphological evidence is reviewed. It should be noted that while A. heterophylla is the earlier name, A. koa is the better-known and economically more important species; therefore, in the event of the two species being formally combined, it would be desirable that a formal proposal be made to conserve A. koa. (2) WorldWideWattle follows Wagner et al. (1990) and Adamski et al. (2012) in regarding A. koa as broadly defined in which three entities are recognized; these authors considered the three entities might best be regarded as three subspecies. In the case of Wagner et al. (1990) the subordinate entities correspond to A. koa sens. str. (widespread throughout the Hawaiian archipelago), A. koaia (from Moloka’I, Lana’I, Maui and Hawai’I Islands) and A. kauaiensis (endemic to Kauai Island). Adamski et al. (2021) recognized the widespread A. koa sens. str. (syn. A. kauaiensis), A. koaia and an informal intermediate entity from Kauai that combines characters of both these species. Although other workers such as Pedley (1975), St. John (1979, publ. 1980), and more, have examined the complex patterns of variation within A. koa sens. lat., the study by Adamski et al. (2012) is the most comprehensive.
Acacia koa A.Gray var. koa (1919) [Autonym]
Racosperma koa (A.Gray) Pedley (1986) [Homotypic synonym]
Acacia heterophylla var. latifolia Benth. (1842) [Heterotypic synonym]
Acacia koa var. latifolia (Benth.) H.St.John (1979, publ. 1980) [Homotypic synonym]
Acacia koaia Hillebr. (1888) [Heterotypic synonym]
Acacia koa var. B [beta] Hillebr. (1888) [Heterotypic synonym]
Acacia koa var. lanaiensis Rock (1919) [Homotypic synonym]
Acacia kauaiensis Hillebr. (1888) [Heterotypic synonym]
Racosperma kauaiense (Hillebr.) Pedley (1986) [Homotypic synonym]
Acacia koa var. hawaiiensis Rock (1919) [Heterotypic synonym]
Acacia koa var. weimeae Hochr. (1925) [Heterotypic synonym]
Acacia koa var. waianaeensis H.St.John (1979, publ. 1980) [Heterotypic synonym]
Acacia heterophylla sens. Hook. & Arn. (1832) [Misapplied name]
Acacia coa Walp. (1858) [Orthographic variant]
INDIAN SUBCONTINENT [C]: India (West Bengal). PACIFIC OCEAN [N]: Hawaiian Islands
Abbreviations: [C - Cultivated, N - Native].
Type Citation. "Hab. Sandwich Islands, Oahu, on the mountains behind Honolulu, Hawaii on the side of the Mouna Loa and Mouna Kea."
Type Designation. Lectotype (designated by St. John 1979, publ. 1980: 358): Sandwich [=Hawaiian] Islands, Oahu, on the mountains behing Honolulu, U.S. Exploring Expedition, Wilkes (K); isotypes: A, GH, US. Source. St. John (1979, publ. 1980: 358).
- Plants of Hawaii - Photographs by Forest and Kim Starr
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