A guide to the littoral plants of Hawai'i, Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Fiji, and Micronesia

by W. Arthur Whistler, Ph.D.


Flowers of the Pacific Island Seashore covers the most common littoral plants (plants found on or near the seashore) occurring in the Pacific Islands. Most of these seashore plants have wide distributions in the Pacific (and some are even "pantropical" - found throughout the tropics), since their seeds or fruits are typically distributed by seawater floatation or by being stuck to the feathers of birds, and nearly all of them are native (arriving in the islands without the help of humans). Nearly all littoral species occurring in Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia are included in the book: Of the 120 species featured, 72 of them are found in Hawai'i, 76 in Samoa, 87 in Tonga, 81 in the Society Islands, 81 in Fiji, 77 in the Cook Islands, and 88 in Micronesia. The species are arranged into five groups based on their life forms - trees, shrubs, herbs, vines, and grasses; and within these groups they are further arranged in alphabetical order by their scientific name.

The book begins with a discussion of the tropical Pacific islands, littoral vegetation and its variations (herbaceous strand, littoral shrubland, pandanus scrub, littoral forest, and mangrove swamp), and spelling and pronunciation of Polynesian plant names, followed by the text comprising a page devoted to each of the 120 species. Each species has a detailed, close-up color photo and the following information: (1) scientific name; (2) family to which the plant belongs; (3) local and English names (if any); (4) distribution; (5) a botanical description; (6) synonyms (names now considered incorrect, but used in the previous literature); and (7) uses of the plant in the Pacific islands. Following the text is a glossary of botanical terms, a selected bibliography, and indices to scientific and vernacular names.

Because of the quality photos and the botanical descriptions, this book is ideal for identifying the most common seashore plants in the area, and is well suited as a text book for local biology or botany classes, or for beachcombers who want to know the names of the plants occurring on the beaches they comb.

Pages: 154 Color Photos: 130
Size: 6 x 9 inches Binding: hard cover
Cost: $18.95 Publisher: Isle Botanica
Publication Date: 1992