CRAIG K. LORENZ / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CRAIG K. LORENZ / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Alula (Brighamia insignis), Kilauea NWR, Kaua'i, Hawaii. Evolution has shaped this plant to survive on the rocky, windswept coasts of Kaua'i and Ni'ihau. Its thick trunk stores water. A waxy coating on its leaves keeps them from drying out in the constant tradewinds. This hardy plant has come close to extinction. Feral goats and cattle eliminated it from all but the steepest sea cliffs. To save the species, biologists rappelled down steep cliffs where the last of these plants grew and became 'surrogate pollinators' using small brushes to transfer pollen from one plant to another.
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