The Rock herbarium has ~55,000 dried and preserved plant specimens, the majority of which come from Hawaiʻi and other Pacific islands. According to the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources (HDLNR), nearly 200 of the 1,400 native species in Hawaiʻi consist of less than 50 individuals in the wild. Nearly 400 species are listed as threatened or endangered under either federal or state designations. While the land area of Hawaiʻi is a small percent of the United States land mass, 44% of U.S. endangered or threatened species are found here, thanks to increasing threats from urbanization, land-use, invasive species introduction, and climate change. Yet the Pacific islands, including Hawaiʻi, have a long history of importance in scientific discovery, influencing the likes of Darwin and Wallace, among others. Research on Hawaiian flora continues to shed light on mechanisms of island dispersal, diversification, evolution, and biogeography. As the flora continues to experience threats, herbaria serve as vastly important resources, containing records of species rarely found in the wild, and preserving information-rich specimens for future researchers.
Our collection is a great resources for researchers and students on the campus of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, and is available to all. The collection supports graduate students’ research, undergraduate teaching, and broader outreach to the university and greater community. Collections of note include Dr. Dan Palmer’s ferns and reference specimens for the Hawaiian Plant DNA Library and the UH Mānoa Campus Arboretum.
We are in the process of digitizing our holdings; they are available through the Consortium of Pacific Herbaria portal.
Interested in submitting specimens? Please check out our Usage Policies page.