Ornamental Plant Materials

TPSS 369


Kenneth Leonhardt


To develop a student’s skill at plant identification. Special attention is to be paid to plants used in Hawaii's tropical landscapes. The individual characteristics, uses, and environmental tolerances of each species will be explained. Students will develop their ability at plant classification and understand the reason for a plants common and botanical names.

Skills and knowledge to be acquired:

At the conclusion of this course, students should be able to recognize, on sight, approximately 250 plants commonly used in tropical landscapes, and be able to describe their uses, environmental tolerances, and problem areas as well as their common and botanical names.

Computer skills to be acquired:



TPSS 200 or consent


Rauch, F.D. and P. R. Weissich. 2000. Plants for Tropical Landscapes. Univ. Hawaii Press.

Films and videos:

Techniques in Plant Identification CD resources The Interactive Manual of Woody Landscape Plants Meerow, A. W. Betrock's Guide to Landscape Palms Datascape, Inc. Guide to Commercial Nomenclature Univ. Arizona, Desert Landscaping Armitage, A. M. The Interactive Guide to Herbaceous Perennial Plants

Guest Speakers:

Ray Baker - Lyon Arboretum on Palms Mel Wong - CES, Pearl City

Field Trips:

Pearl City Urban Garden Facility Lyon Arboretum Halawa Xeriscape Garden Queen Liliuokalani Gardens Kapiolani Gardens Hale Koa and Hilton Hawiian Village Restaurant Row Hawaii Convention Center Cactus and Succulent collection at Kapiolani Community College

Course organization:

Class meetings will be a combination of lecture, demonstration, and site visits.


  • Introduction, Characteristics used in plant identification.
  • Resources for plant identification
  • Landscape uses and their sustainability
  • Botanical names, Shrubs
  • Nomenclature
  • Hedges
  • About palms…Palms of UH Manoa
  • Plants for dry areas
  • Invasive plants, Vines of UH Manoa
  • Native plants
  • Zingiberaceae for the landscape
  • Plants in use
  • Ground covers to protect the environment
  • Plants of Waikiki Landscapes 


Quizzes are given each period. Quizzes will usually focus on the student's ability to identify plant material and give the correct common and botanical name. Plant identification quizzes will often take place during the initial half-hour of a site visit. There will also be quizzes which focus on plant uses, problems, environmental tolerances, propagation techniques, selection of plants for particular environments, and aspects of plant nomenclature, and identification characteristics. Accuracy and completeness of information will be the basis for grading these pages. The 10 best quiz grades are used to calculate 80% of the grade.

The remaining 20% of the grade has been based on the instructor's evaluation of data sheets of 20 plant materials not included in the textbook. The final percentage is evaluated as A = 90% or higher, B = 80 -89.9%, C= 70 - 79.9%, D= 60 - 69.9%, F = < 59.9%.