Hawaiian Plant DNA Library

The Hawaiian Plant DNA Library

Since 1992, my lab has been collecting and extracting DNA from native Hawaiian plants.  This has culminated in the production of the Hawaiian Plant DNA Library (HPDL) with over 5,500 accessions to date. Although many of these collections are of multiple individuals in plant populations, there are extensive collections from various trips throughout the islands.  Approximately 86% of the plant genera in Hawaii are represented and over 50% of the species.   Many of these plants are endangered, and we now know that some of these are also extinct in the wild.


Although by far the majority of the accessions were obtained from natural populations, many accessions were also obtained from plants grown in various arboreta and botanical gardens.  As such, I sincerely appreciate the help from the directors and staff of these gardens in providing the material and providing the information concerning the source populations of the plants.  These collections include:

  • Amy Greenwell Ethnobotanic Garden (Hawaii)
  • Foster Gardens (Oahu)
  • Lyon Arboretum (Oahu)
  • National Tropical Botanical Garden (Kauai)
  • Waimea Botanical Garden (Oahu)



Plants in the library are available for use by all researchers.   All I ask is that the library be cited in any resulting publication in which they are used. (And, hey, if you would like to include me as a co-author, I wonπt complain!).  I am also open to any further collaborative efforts that may require more extensive collecting of some of the species.


DNA is extracted using a modification of the CTAB protocol and the DNA banded in cesium chloride.  Although more time consuming then the faster methods available today, the quality of the DNA is very high and the quantity is sufficient that I can share it with you and (usually) not be concerned about the quantity left.

Click here to see collections!

Collections are arranged alphabetically by family within dicots (d-), ferns (f-), and monocots (m-) for ease of sorting the file.

Those collections highlighted in red were made through the generous contribution from the Virginia and Colin Lennox Botanical Research Trust and the Hawaii Community Foundation who supported the field work and laboratory work to collect species from 2004-2007.

The collections were originally published in two articles:

  • Morden, C. W., V. C. Caraway, T. J. Motley. 1996. Development of a DNA library for native Hawaiian plants. Pacific Science 50: 324-335.
  • Randell, R. A. and C. W. Morden. 1999. Hawaiian Plant DNA library II: endemic, indigenous, and introduced species. Pacific Science 53: 401-417.

These articles include plants up through about HPDL 2000 or so.  The collections have nearly doubled since that time.  There is a pretty good chance that I have a species, or at least a genus, you may be interested in.  Feel free to contact me and I will see what I can do.