Foundation awards a chance to preserve Native Hawaiian plants


MANOA, Oahu (KHNL) - Rare Hawaiian plant species might get a chance to recover with the help of extra funds.

The Hawaii Community Foundation has just awarded $105,000 dollars to The University of Hawai'i at Mânoa's 193-acre Lyon Arboretum.

Nestled in the back of Manoa Valley the Lyon Arboretum is a tropical rainforest and home to a variety of rare and culturally significant native Hawaiian plants.

The awarded funds which will be distributed over 3 years will be used to target many plant species that were used by native Hawaiians for such things as food and drink, medicines, clothing, tools and warfare just to name a few.

Some of the plants targeted for conservation are the `ie`ie, alahe'e, loulu, kauila, mâmane, koa, and various others.

"This support will enable us to augment the work we are already doing to aid the recovery of rare species in Hawai'i,"said research scientist at the Arboretum, Nellie Sugii.

Lyon Arboretum not only displays native Hawaiian plants in its many gardens and greenhouses but also collects and stores various seeds in an effort to preserve many endangered plant species from extiction.

"Because of our unique ability to propagate such plants, we will not only be serving as an important storage, or 'bank' to safeguard important culturally-significant plants, but will also provide a distribution center for other organizations," says Dr. Christopher Dunn, the Arboretum's director.

Dunn and others say they are thrilled by the generous support offered from the Hawaii Foundation.