Because the islands of Hawaii is located about 2,300 miles away from any continents, they are the most isolated place on the planet. That means plant and animal life arrived very infrequently and then evolved in isolation from the rest of the world. For this reason, many of Hawaii's plants have evolved to be endemic (native to Hawaii).

Arriving sporadically as seeds or spores attached to migrating birds or insects caught in high winds, these early plants flourished with little to no opposition in Hawaii, and evolved to reflect this. With no grazing animals on the islands, plants in Hawaii needed no defense mechanisms. That's why Hawaiian holly is spineless, and Hawaiian nettles don't sting. Hawaiian mint is tasteless, where normally a strong taste fends off potential grazers.

Once Polynesians and later Europeans arrived on the islands, they cleared forests and introduced non-indigenous plants and animals, leading to the extinction of many endemic plants.

The Bishop Museum in Honolulu, HI.
The Bishop Museum's Ethnobotany Database

Take a look at the Bishop Museum's online ethnobotany database to learn all about plant life in Hawaii and how plants have been used for medicine and/or other purposes.
Plants in Hawaii

Flora of the Hawaiian Islands

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History has a database all about the flora of the Hawaiian Islands.

A white Hibiscus in Hawaii.

Images of Hawaiian plants

This is a database of images of plants that can be found here in Hawai'i.

The Kalanchoe Beharensis is native to Madagascar and has been cited as invasive in Hawaii.

Plant threats to Pacific ecosystem

Curious to know what plants are threatening the Pacific ecosystem? This database will show you.

Native Hawaiian plant.

Native Hawaiian Plants

This database talks all about Hawaii's native, or endemic, plants, and fully describes the plant characteristics, flower characteristics, growth requirements, and environmental information.

Last updated: July 19, 2016

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WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument
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