Hawaiian Plant Life has been written with both the layperson and professional interested in Hawai`i's natural history and flora in mind. In addition to significant text describing landforms and vegetation, the evolution of Hawaiian flora, and the conservation of native species, the book includes almost 875 colour photographs illustrating nearly two-thirds of native Hawaiian plant species as well as a concise description of each genus and species shown. The work can be used either as a stand-alone reference or as a companion to the two-volume Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai`i.
Learning more about threatened and endangered plants is essential to conserving them, and there is no more endangered flora in the world today than that of the Hawaiian Islands. Striking species complexes such as the silverswords and the remarkable lobeliads represent unique stories of adaptive radiation that make the Hawai`i a living laboratory for evolution. Public appreciation for Hawaiian biodiversity requires outreach and education that will determine the future conservation of this rich heritage, and Hawaiian Plant Life has been designed to help fill that need.
Robert J. Gustafson retired as plant collections manager at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, USA. Derral R. Herbst has worked as a botanist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Tropical Botanical Garden, and the University of Hawai`i, USA. Philip W. Rundel is Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), USA and director of the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden at UCLA, USA.