UH Manoa campus recognized as accredited arboretum

Photo courtesy UH Manoa

The tree-filled campus of the University of Hawaii at Manoa is now an accredited arboretum, one of 134 internationally and one of two in Hawaii, joining the Lyon Arboretum.

The campus received the recognition from the Morton Arboretum’s ArbNet, the world’s only arboretum accreditation program.

The 320-acre Manoa campus features more than 4,000 trees and more than 500 species. It received a Level I accreditation from ArbNet that acknowledges the university for its high standards of professional practices deemed important for arboreta and botanic gardens.

UH-Manoa joins 37 universities and colleges with ArbNet accredited arboretums including the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, Ohio State University and American University in Washington D.C. Other accredited institutions include Arlington National Cemetery, Shanghai Botanical Gardens in China and the Tasmanian Arboretum in Australia.

UH-Manoa was originally named the College of Hawaii, established in 1907 with a plan to treat the campus as an arboretum.

In 1915, famed botanist Joseph Rock began planting hundreds trees from all over the world.

“These older trees are now the eldest living members of our community and they embody the memory of a century of engagement with the Manoa landscape,” said David Strauch, a graduate student in geography who is currently serving as the campus horticultural cartographer. Strauch also spearheaded the accreditation effort.

Sausage tree (Kigelia africana) Photo courtesy UH-Manoa
Sausage tree (Kigelia africana) Photo courtesy UH-Manoa

Examples of the unique species on the Mānoa campus include the sausage tree (Kigelia africana), the cannon ball tree (Couroupita guianensis) and the baobab tree (Adansonia digitata), which may be the largest in the country.

“We have a landscape advisory committee that created a tree policy on how to manage the trees on campus,” said Richard Criley, emeritus professor of horticulture. “We like to replace trees when trees have come out and we also, under this new accreditation, would like to be able to add new trees.”

The inventory is available online where the public can search for and identify the trees and plants on campus.

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