Flora of Samoa Available for Purchase

The newly published Flora of Samoa is now available for purchase

The National Tropical Botanical Garden is pleased to announce that the print edition of W. Arthur Whistler’s Flora of Samoa: Flowering Plants is now available for purchase. Decades in the making, the 940-page book includes 159 color figures, presenting the rich and diverse flora in its known entirety.

The Flora of Samoa project was spearheaded by Hawaii-based ethnobotanist W. Arthur Whistler who worked closely with Samoan partners to explore, collect, and study the Samoan flora, allowing him to incorporate a considerable number of taxonomic treatments emphasizing Samoa’s traditional ethnobotanical knowledge.

Whistler dedicated his career to documenting the Samoan flora. In 2015, NTBG commissioned Whistler as a McBryde Fellow to prepare a written flora of Samoa for publication. After Whistler’s death in 2020, botanists at NTBG and the Smithsonian Institution worked together to complete final editing and updating of the manuscript to ensure the flora was published.

Based on Whistler’s 4,900 specimen herbarium collections, the flora is the most current and complete scientific assessment of the Samoan archipelago’s 543 native plant taxa, including 177 endemic species, 290 naturalized flowering plant species, and 225 ferns and fern allies. More than one-third of Samoa’s native plants are found nowhere else on earth. Samoa’s largest family of flowering plants is the orchid family (Orchidaceae), with 101 native species, followed second by the coffee family (Rubiaceae), with 47 native and six naturalized species.

Flora of Samoa: Flowering Plants is listed at $100 (USD) plus 4% general excise tax and shipping. The book can be ordered by emailing NTBG staff at lorence@ntbg.org or kmagoun@ntbg.org.

Psychotria pacifica is one of twelve Psychotria species native to Samoa and a member of the coffee family (Rubiaceae), Samoa’s second largest plant family.
Dr. David Lorence, senior research botanist at the National Tropical Botanical Garden, holds a copy of the Flora of Samoa. Dr. Lorence worked closely with Dr. Warren Wagner, curator of botany with the Smithsonian Institution, to complete the Flora of Samoa, a project spearheaded by ethnobotanist Dr. W. Arthur Whistler.

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