Disseminating the discoveries made by NTBG’s scientists is an important aspect of conducting scientific research. The NTBG Publications Program began in mid-1973, almost immediately after the first garden was developed. Among the first landmark books were List and Summary of Flowering Plants of Hawaii by Harold St. John (1973) and Indigenous Trees of the Hawaiian Islands by Joseph Rock (1974).
The culmination of floristic and systematic research of the plants of a particular region is the publication of its flora. A flora, when using the term to refer to a publication, is a book or other work that describes the plant species occurring in a given area or time period. The purpose of a published flora is to allow identification of the plants described in it and provide a historical record of these plants. NTBG’s multi-volume Flora Vitiensis Nova: a New Flora of Fiji is a substantial work of over 3,000 pages. A Chronicle and Flora of Niihau combines a flora with a historical account of this small island.
Other NTBG publications, originally published for their scientific value, have become popular as well with students, enthusiasts, and laymen. Hawaii: A Natural History covers the geology, climate, native flora and fauna above the shoreline of the islands. A Hawaiian Florilegium: Botanical Portraits from Paradise is the convergence of fine art, scientific illustration, and botanical history. A picture of past and current practices of indigenous people is presented in Polynesian Herbal Medicine and Plants of the Canoe People.
The first issue of Allertonia, a series of occasional papers that present the results of original botanical or horticultural research by NTBG scientists and contributing authors, was published in April 1975. Entitled Rare and Endangered Species of Hawaiian Vascular Plants, by F.R. Fosberg and Derral Herbst, this publication formed the basis for listing endangered species in Hawai‘i.
Projects include the Flora of the Marquesas Islands, currently available on the Web in collaboration with Smithsonian Institution, and the Yale University Press publication of a translation from medieval Dutch to English of a 6-volume botanical work on the flora of the Indonesian island of Ambon.
NTBG scientists and research associates continue to publish numerous articles on the results of their research in peer-reviewed scientific journals, popular articles and books, and electronically on the Web.