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Originally published in 1981. This extensive study gives botanical data about the trees and shrubs of Hawaii with a clarity that can be easily understood by everyone. The author describes the plants, gives common names, mainland equivalents – if there are any – and tells their uses in the changing world of the Pacific Islands.
Woven into his narrative are also folk stories about the plants. Of the Naupaka, he writes: "Hawaiian legend says that the half flower came about when a scorned maiden grabbed a flower and tore it in half. She told her lover she would not see him again until he brought her a full flower, but he never did. From that time on, Naupakas have had only half a flower and the lover died of a broken heart."