Yellow fatu (Abutilon pitcairnense)

Saved by botanic gardens

This species is a prime example of the important role botanic gardens play in plant conservation. 

There is a remote island group in the middle of the Pacific Ocean known as the Pitcairn Islands. In 2003, a single yellow fatu was found on a lone cliff on one island. Before this, the species was thought to have gone extinct two decades earlier! 

Seeds and cuttings were collected from the plant and several new individuals grown. This was fortunate, as two years after the discovery, a landslide destroyed the only plant individual remaining in the wild. Yellow fatus were sent to several botanic gardens (we received ours in 2010).

The goal is to reintroduce the yellow fatu into its natural habitat, but the project has proven difficult because of invasive species, such as the common lantana (Lantana camara). There has been a concerted effort to eradicate invasive species and reintroduce endemic flora around the Pitcairn Islands.

The yellow fatu is a bush that nearly went extinct 
The yellow fatu has large and cordate leaves.