three people under umbrellas in the rain at the arboretum

From left, David Shepard, Senator Mazie Hirono and Marian Chau at Lyon Arboretum

U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono introduced a bill that prioritizes and preserves native plants, including those found at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Lyon Arboretum, which houses the world’s largest collection of native Hawaiian plant species in its micropropagation laboratory.

Hirono’s Botanical Sciences and Native Plant Materials Research, Restoration and Promotion Act encourages federal land management agencies to prioritize hiring botanists, conduct research on native plant materials and incorporate native plants in projects on federal land.

The senator visited the Lyon Arboretum in August and toured the Native Hawaiian Garden, met with scientists and planted native species at the facility.

The bill is especially important for Hawaiʻi, which has more federally listed endangered plants than all other states combined.
—Marian Chau

“Scientists at Lyon Arboretum are working to preserve native ecosystems through research, outreach and propagation of plants native to Hawaiʻi—many of which are endangered and important to our culture,” Hirono said in a news release. “The scientists I met with provided critical input in writing the Botanical Sciences and Native Plant Materials Research, Restoration and Promotion Act, and I look forward to continuing our work together as we advocate for its passage.”

Marian Chau, manager of Lyon Arboretum’s Seed Conservation Laboratory, was involved in the drafting of the recent bill and joined the senator on the tour. Chau says the bill is especially important for Hawaiʻi, which has more federally listed endangered plants than all other states combined.

“We are thrilled that Senator Hirono visited Lyon Arboretum to learn about, and participate in, the work we do with endemic and endangered Hawaiian plants,” said Chau in the release. “We’re grateful for her initiative in introducing the Botanical Sciences and Native Plant Materials Research, Restoration and Promotion Act, which would empower the U.S. to better preserve our incredible biodiversity.“

Read the full news release on Senator Hirono’s website.

More about the arboretum’s work restoring native Hawaiian plants