The plants of Waya Island, Fiji


Author: Rhys O Gardner (Auckland Museum)

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An annotated species-list is given for Waya Island (Yasawa Is. Group, Fiji). It contains 38 ferns and lycophytes, 1 cycad, 55 monocotyledons, and 224 dicotyledons. Nearly all these 318 species are indigenous to Fiji or are likely to be ancient (pre-European) introductions. Except for six species, post-European introductions (weeds and cultivated species) have not been included.

Two species are endemic to Waya: Embelia deivanuae (Myrsinaceae) and Psychotria volii (Rubiaceae). Five are rare in Fiji: Guettarda wayaensis (Rubiaceae), Mollugo pentaphylla (Molluginaceae), Ormocarpum orientale (Leguminosae), Polystichum pilosum (Dryopteridaceae), and Prosaptia vomaensis (Polypodiaceae). Another two Fijian rarities, Euphorbia plumerioides (Euphorbiaceae) and Sarcolobus stenophyllus (Asclepiadaceae), were found on Waya in 1937 but have not been seen since.

Waya’s taller native vegetation is situated mostly on rugged rocky topography and is dominated by members of Leguminosae (Cynometra, Kingiodendron, Maniltoa), Sapindaceae and Sapotaceae. In Fiji at large such “dry zone” cover has been greatly reduced by continual fires, so Waya’s remnants, though small and discontinous, have substantial biodiversity value.


Gardner, R.O. 2018. The plants of Waya Island, Fiji. Records of the Auckland Museum 53: 43-76. 

Published online: January 18, 2019