HILO, Hawaii (AP) — A fern species that was believed to be extinct when the last known specimen died on Hawaii's Big Island has been found on the island of Kauai.
The native pendant kihi fern, which only grows on the trunks of trees, was believed to be extinct for several years until a team from the Hawaii Plant Extinction Prevention Program found another specimen on Kauai earlier this year, Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Thursday.
The last known Big Island specimen of the fern, or Adenophorus periens, was found dead in 2015. That prompted it to be listed as critically endangered and possibly extinct. With the discovery of new specimens on Kauai, it's no longer considered possibly extinct, the Hilo newspaper reported.
There were nearly 1,300 known specimens of the ferns throughout the state in 1994, but by 2012 there were only 31 on Kauai and less than 10 on the Big Island.
Five of the ferns were discovered at three locations on Kauai, said Matt Kier, a botanist with Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources' Rare Plant Program.
“So, we’ll try to mass-produce them and hopefully reintroduce them into the wild, which means we may bring them back to the Big Island,” Kier said.