The living collections are at the very core of the NTBG’s mission. While the collection focus varies from garden to garden, there is some overlap, which widens their conservation, research, and education value. Each collection at each garden site plays an important role in the overall objectives of the institution.
The collections in the McBryde Garden constitute NTBG’s largest holdings at any one location. McBryde contains plant species from the Old and New World Tropics, some of which are extinct in the wild. The emphasis is on wild-collected specimens, particularly those endemic to Hawai‘i and other Pacific islands. Intensive field collecting efforts have resulted in the world’s largest assemblage of native Hawaiian plant species. These collections are located on the southern shore of the island of Kaua‘i.
At-risk native species are also are major component of the collections at Limahuli Garden and Preserve. Limahuli complements the drier McBryde Garden, since its location on the island’s north shore contains microclimates better suited to rain forest plants. A preserve adjacent to the garden serves as an excellent resource for restoration ecology. Collections in the garden and in the lower preserve also include plants recognized for their ethnobotanical value by the ancient Hawaiians.
Kahanu Garden, on the eastern shore of the island of Maui, focuses its living collections on plants of value to Pacific Island peoples. These contain not only endemic Hawaiian species, but also species of other Polynesian islands, as well as Micronesia and Melanesia. This includes the world’s largest collection of breadfruit, once a food staple in these tropical areas.
Living collections at NTBG’s Florida garden, The Kampong, contain heritage plants primarily from Southeast Asia, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Many were collected and planted by famed horticulturist and plant collector Dr. David Fairchild. These collections provide an invaluable resource for the study of horticulture and botany.
The plants in the Allerton Garden were selected for their visual interest. Most were brought to this south Kaua‘i location by the Allertons. In the process, a number of tropical species of scientific interest were added to the plantings. These species, particularly when considered with the plants in the adjacent McBryde Garden, increase the collection’s value for research, education, and conservation programs.
For more information on the living collections at NTBG’s gardens: