README: The Hawaiian Flowering Plants Checklist, Hawaii Biological Survey, Bishop Museum

The Hawaiian Flowering Plants Checklist is an authority file of names of recognized native and naturalized angiosperm taxa in the Hawaiian Islands. It is updated annually to incorporate newly published island and state records, nomenclatural and taxonomic changes, and newly described native taxa. The file does not include any synonyms or cross-referencing of names.

The Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai'i (Wagner et al. 1990) serves as the foundation for this checklist. A spinoff publication that distilled basic distributional information from the Manual (Imada et al. 1989) was electronically reformatted into a database format by Dr. Loyal Mehrhoff, who also added endangerment data. Walter Appleby later transferred the database to its current Microsoft Access format. Research assistant Clyde Imada currently handles the yearly updating of the checklist.

Many of the additions are garnered from the annual Bishop Museum publication series, Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey (Evenhuis & Miller 1995-), while others are gathered by scanning current botanical literature. Proposed additions or changes to the checklist are reviewed by staff botanists before inclusion. Additions of new island or state records are based on published sources supported by voucher specimens; not included are citations based on sight records or casual observations, or on unpublished checklists or manuscripts. For the same reason, pending nomenclatural or taxonomic changes or soon-to-be-described taxa are excluded.

This version is updated through October 1998 and includes 2,213 native and naturalized angiosperm taxa. Federal endangerment status designations are current up to January 1998. Abbreviations of author names for plants follow Brummitt and Powell (1992).

The primary database file is maintained in the Department of Natural Sciences/Botany, Bernice P. Bishop Museum, and has been modified for this query-based Web version.

Financial support from the following foundations is gratefully acknowledged: the William G. Irwin Charity Foundation, for its support of the Manual project; the National Science Foundation (award BSR 8912364), for curatorial support of the BISH herbarium; the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust and the Atherton Family Foundation, for their support of the In Gardens of Hawai'i project; and the the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for ongoing support of the Hawaii Biological Survey. Research and collections curation that generated taxonomic information summarized in this checklist in outline form would not have been possible without their generous and farseeing subventions.


Brummitt, R. K., & C. E. Powell (eds.). 1992. Authors of plant names. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 732 pp.

Evenhuis, N. L., and S. E. Miller (eds.). 1995-. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey. Bishop Museum Occasional Paper series.

Imada, C.T., W.L. Wagner, and D.R. Herbst. 1989. Checklist of native and naturalized flowering plants of Hawai'i. Bishop. Mus. Occas. Pap. 29: 31-87.

Wagner, W.L., D.R. Herbst, & S.H. Sohmer. 1990. Manual of the flowering plants of Hawai'i. University of Hawai'i Press and Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu, 1853 pp.

Questions, comments, or corrections can be directed to:

Collection Manager for Botany
Herbarium Pacificum
Bishop Museum
1525 Bernice St.
Honolulu, HI 96817
fax: (808) 847-8252