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National Tropical Botanical Garden

United States of America - Hawaii - Kalaheo

Institution Code: PTBG

International Agenda Registration: N
BGCI Member: Y

Lawai Valley on the south shore of the Hawaiian island of Kauai is the site of NTBG's first garden, McBryde Garden. Adjacent is the Allerton Garden. NTBG's national headquarters overlook these valley gardens.
Photo by David Boynton. Used with permission.
Lawai Valley on the south shore of the Hawaiian island of Kauai is the site of NTBG's first garden, McBryde Garden. Adjacent is the Allerton Garden. NTBG's national headquarters overlook these valley gardens. Photo by David Boynton. Used with permission.

About the National Tropical Botanical Garden

The mission of the National Tropical Botanical Garden is to enrich life through discovery, scientific research, conservation, and education by perpetuating the survival of plants, ecosystems, and cultural knowledge of tropical regions.

The institution has four gardens and five preserves in the tropics (Hawaiian Islands) and a garden in the sub-tropical area of South Florida.

Main Address:
National Tropical Botanical Garden
National Headquarters
3530 Papalina Road
Hawaii 96741 United States of America

Telephone: (808) 332-7324
Fax: (808) 332-9765
Primary Email:

Staff Details

  • Director's Name: Andrew Jasper. Director of NTBG Southshore Gardens - Kauai
    Curator's Name: Mike DeMotta, Assistant Director of Living Collections & Horticulture
    Plant Records Officer's Name: Kava Vale, Plant Records Manager
  • Total Staff:
    Horticultural Staff Number: 22
    Educational Staff Number: 2
    Research Staff Number:
    Administration Staff Number:

About the Garden

  • Institution Type: Botanic Garden
  • Status
  • Status: Private: Y
    Status: State: N
    Status: Educational: Y
    Status: Municipal: N
    Status: Satellite: N
    Status: Trust: N
  • Date founded: 1964
  • Physical Data
  • Natural Vegetation Area: Y
    Natural vegetation area: Size: 486 Hectares
  • Landscaped Area: Y
    Landscaped Area: Size: 242 Hectares
  • Total Area: 728 Hectares
    Latitude: 21.9079461
    Longitude: -159.5120669
    Annual Rainfall: 538 mm
    Altitude: 213.00 Metres
  • Additional Locations
  • Satellite Garden Names: McBryde Garden (Flagship Headquarters Garden)-island of Kauai, Hawaii; Allerton Garden-island of Kauai, Hawaii; Limahuli Garden-island of Kauai, Hawaii; Kahanu Garden-island of Maui, Hawaii; The Kampong-Florida; five preserves (Kauai and Hawaii Island)

Features and Facilities

  • Herbarium: Y
    Herbarium: Number of Specimens: 56000
    Arboretum: N
  • Micropropagation/ Tissue Culture Facilities: Y
    Seed Bank: Y
    Published Plant Catalogue: N
    Computer Plant Record System: Y
  • Open to public: Y
    Friends society: Y
    Retail Outlet: Shop: Y
    Retail Outlet: Plant Sales: N
    Disabled access: Y
  • Number of Visitors: 67000
    Number of Volunteers: 200

Plant Collections

  • Accession Number: 14816
    Cultivation Taxa Num: 3877
  • Special Collections:Today the living collections include plants from around the world with a special focus on Pacific Island plants, particularly Hawaiian endemic and indigenous plants, rare and endangered plants, species from the Marquesas, American Samoa, Palau, and Micronesian islands like Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Chuuk. Other large collections include Zingiberales, Rubiaceae, palms, pandanus, cycads, Erythrina, a tropical fruit tree collection started by Dr. David Fairchild and, the world’s largest collection of breadfruit.
  • Invasive Species Monitoring: Y
    Invasive Species Policy: Y
    ABS Policy: Y
    Plant Collection Policy: Y

Conservation Programmes

  • Conservation Programme: Y
    Medicinal Plant Programme: Y
    Ex Situ Conservation Programme: Y
    Reintroduction Programme: Y

Research Programmes

  • Conservation - Biology: Y
    Conservation - Genetics: Y
    Data Management Systems and Information Technology: Y
    Ecology: Y
    Ecosystem Conservation: Y
    Education: Y
    Ethnobotany: Y
    Exploration: Y
    Floristics: Y
    Horticulture: Y
    Invasive Species Biology and Control: Y
    Molecular Genetics: Y
    Restoration Ecology: Y
    Seed/Spore Biology: Y
    Systematics and Taxonomy: Y
    Sustainability: Y
    Pharmacology: N
    Agriculture: Y
    Land Restoration: Y

Education Programmes

  • Visitor/Education Centre: Y
    Education Signs in Garden: Y
    Public Lectures/Talks: Y
    Education Booklets/Leaflets: Y
    Guided Tours: Y
    Permanent Public Displays: Y
    Special Exhibitions: Y
    Courses for School Children: Y
    Courses for University/College Students: Y
    Courses for General Public: Y
    Education Programme: Y

Forest Restoration on Kaua’i

At one time in Hawai‘i, dry forests occupied much of the leeward lowlands of all the main islands and were rich in native tree species. But they were nearly all eliminated by agriculture, livestock grazing, and development by the 1950s. Less than 10 percent of Hawaiian dry forests remain today as scattered remnants in only a few leeward sites across the state.

On Kaua‘i the Lāwa‘i Forest Restoration Project run by NTBG is innovative and strategically significant By developing a dry forest restoration site, we are creating a habitat for at least 100 native plant species that can eventually be planted there. Many of these species are threatened with extinction and no longer have a viable home in the wild on Kaua‘i. The site of this restoration project is located directly below the NTBG Headquarters on the west slope of the Lāwa‘i Valley. The site is approximately 10 acres. Introduced species of brush and grasses currently dominate the area. When completed, the restored site will feature three to four distinct dry forest types based on variations once found throughout Hawai‘i. We will achieve these variations utilizing Kaua‘i species only. The forest will contain mixed assemblages of tree species with individual species grouped in small stands.

Restoring Hawaii's Endangered Tropical Rainforest

Many of Hawaii's ecosystems have become endangered as a direct result of human activities such as agriculture, timber extraction and construction. Introduction of feral pigs has had a devastating effect on the island ecology, destroying the tropical rainforest understory and allowing highly competitive alien species to gain a foothold.

The National Tropical Botanical Garden manages the Upper Limahuli Preserve in Kauai, where some of the most pristine montane wet forest left in Hawaii can be found. The NTBG has fenced out feral pigs from the Preserve and is eliminating invasive plant species. Rare local plant species are being propagated and planted in the Preserve, restoring precious habitat for rare bird populations.

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