Deep in Manoa valley, rare plant research and preservation expands

Published: Jan. 29, 2018 at 1:07 AM HST|Updated: Jan. 30, 2018 at 8:52 AM HST
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MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Construction is finished on a new lab in Manoa aimed at preserving Hawaii's rarest plants.

The Micropropagation Laboratory at Lyon Arboretum deep in Manoa Valley will be home to some 33,000 plants.

It's part of the Rare Plant Program at the arboretum, which has also preserved more than 16 million seeds.

Construction on the new lab started in 2016, and cost about $3.6 million.

It will help students and researchers bolster the arboretum's work to preserve and restore populations of native plants.

"The work we do here is really important because we are saving plants that are super rare. Rare meaning 50 or less in the wild and without the work that we do, the plants would most likely not be here anymore," UH student Lauren Mau said.

More than half of the entire country's endangered plants can be found in Hawaii.

"It's going to be a big upgrade, and it's really going to help us to expand our collections and to do better work with our collections and to keep them perpetuated farther into the future," UH grad student Tim Kroessig added.

The new facility is more than 4,000 square feet, which is more than double the size of the old lab which sits next door.

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