Kokia cookei is considered one of the rarest and most endangered plant species in the world. In 1910, a single living tree was discovered within the general area of the initial sighting and may in fact, have been one of theoriginal trees. In 1915, this last remaining wild specimen was found in extremely poor condition though a few seeds were found and collected. Kokia cookei became extirpated from the wild in 1918. Seeds from this collection produced only one seedling that survived past 1933. This one remaining seedling was planted at a Kauluwai residence on Moloka‘i, and produced over 130 seedlings though none of these plants have persisted. In the late 1950ʹs, the single plant at Kauluwai, Moloka‘i died and it was presumed extinct. In 1970, a single plant of the species was discovered at the Moloka‘i residence, probably a surviving relict of the previous cultivated plant. But in 1978, a fire destroyed the last remaining rooted plant of Kokia cookei. Fortunately, before it was destroyed, abranch was removed and later grafted onto a related species at the Waimea Arboretum. Currently, Kokia cookei exists as approximately 23 grafted plants. The full natural range of Kokia cookei cannot be determined due to the near complete loss of native, dryland forest on Moloka‘i. Now only found in cultivation
Kokia cookei is extinct in the wild. Currently, the species exists as 23 grafted plants in 5 different locations on the islands of Maui, Moloka‘i, Hawai‘i and O‘ahu. Seven individuals are in cultivation in facilities on the islands of Maui and O‘ahu. One individual is located at a private residence on the island of Hawai‘i. The remaining 15 individuals are in small outplanting sites on Moloka‘i Ranch lands, at Puu Nana.