Phyllostegia variabilis Bitter

Coastal Phyllostegia (Phyllostegia variabilis)

The Coastal Phyllostegia or Variable Phyllostegia was described in 1900, the species was originally discovered on the island of Laysan but was subsequently also found on the Kure- and Midway atolls in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

Hugo H. Schauinsland wrote the first notes about this species, that he discovered in 1896.:

Phyllostegia variabilis Bitter nov. sp. Here and there on the E and W side near the beach. The numerous small flowers appear first during winter, beginning in November. It is a herbaceous plant, with few unbranched runners which I found to be 3/4 to 1 m long.” [2]


… In 1896 it was scattered near the beach of the west and east sides (Schauinsland, 1899: 97). It was still present in small patches in 1903, mostly on the windward side (Christophersen and Caum, 1931: 11). it disappeared from Laysan before 1911.” [1]

The species is now completely extinct.



[1] Charles A. Ely; Roger B. Clapp: The natural history of Laysan Island, northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 171. 1973
[2] Hugo H. Schauinsland: Three months on a coral island (Laysan); translated by Miklos D. F. Udvardy. Atoll Research Bulletin 432. 1996


edited: 19.10.2020