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October 18, 2012
  • Preserve Native Plants for the Future

"Approximately 90 percent of the 1,400 plants species native to the Hawaiian Islands are found nowhere else in the world. Consequently, Hawaiʻi has the dubious distinction of being the "Endangered Species Capital of the World," with nearly 400 plant species listed as endangered or threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service."

Nelli Sugii, director, Hawaiian Rare Plant Program, Lyon Arboretum

The Harold L. Lyon Arboretum, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, is the only university botanical garden located in a tropical rainforest in the U.S. It is also the only easily accessible tropical rainforest on Oʻahu.

The arboretum occupies nearly 200 acres at the top of the Mānoa watershed. It has a set of small cottages and greenhouses that are used for research and community education about plants and the natural environments of Hawaiʻi.

Housed in one of these small cottages is the Micropropagation Lab, the only lab of its kind in Hawaiʻi. It is here that critical rescue and recovery research is taking place to prevent the extinction of native Hawaiian plants. To save more of our natural heritage, the Arboretum is embarking on a capital improvement project.

What does the Micropropagation lab do?

  • Maintains rare plant and seed bank collections
  • Propagates plants for use in restoration and reintroduction projects
  • Houses more than 16,000 individual plants and 160 native plant species - which is less than 50% of the species requiring protection

The Micropropagation Lab Capital Improvement Project will:

  • Nearly double the capacity of the lab.
  • Include the development of a visitor viewing and interpretive component.
  • Greater protection for endangered plants.
  • Provide an efficient working environment more conducive to the Arboretum's critical rescue and recovery research.
  • Include an area where visitors (including the 6,000 children engaged in education programs) can view scientists at work and learn from interpretative materials.

By supporting the Micropropagation Lab Capital Improvement Project you will help the Arboretum's Hawaiian Rare Plant Program do more to rescue, recover and rehabilitate threatened plant species.

Questions? / More Information

If you would like to learn how you can support UH students and programs like this, please contact us at 808 376-7800 or send us a message.