Hawaiian Native Plants

The Hawaiian archipelago is one of the most remote island chains in the world. Millions of years of isolation from other lands has led to the evolution of a diverse and unique flora, or plant life, in the region. The beds of this garden are built of volcanic stone to resemble dry lava flows. Native Hibiscus trees and Pritchardia palms, like the one in front of you, can be seen here. The specimens in this collection are generally from the dry regions of Hawaii, which are better adapted to the climate here than those from wetter areas.


El archipiélago hawaiano es una de las cadenas insulares más remotas del mundo. Millones de años de aislamiento de otras islas han resultado en la evolución de una flora única y diversa, o vida vegetal, de la región. El lecho de este jardín está construido sobre roca volcánica que semeja el flujo seco de lava volcánica. Árboles de Hibiscus nativas y Palmas del género Pritchardia, como la que se encuentra enfrente, pueden observarse aquí. Los especímenes de esta colección son generalmente de áreas secas de Hawái que, a diferencia de plantas de áreas más húmedas, pueden aclimatarse mejor al clima de nuestra región.

Explore Further

The volcanic landscapes of these islands are stunning and diverse, hosting a wide range of habitat types in a very small area. While the beauty and uniqueness of Hawaiian plants is exceptional, they are under threat from climate change, habitat loss and non-native species which compete for light, water and resources. A strong community of plant conservationists are working hard to preserve the unique plants of Hawai’i, often through direct human intervention such as removing non-natives, reintroducing natives, and maintaining seed banks of rare species.

A grant from the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust has allowed for renovation of the irrigation system in this area. Garden staff are planning extensive new plantings throughout the Hawaiian Garden. A major focus will be on plants from the drier leeward sides of the islands, which are more adapted to the climate of Los Angeles than plants from other parts of the islands.


The UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden acknowledges the Gabrielino/Tongva peoples as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (the Los Angeles basin and So. Channel Islands). As a promoter of nature at a California land grant institution, we pay our respects to the Honuukvetam (Ancestors), ‘Ahiihirom (Elders) and ‘Eyoohiinkem (our relatives/relations) past, present and emerging.

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