Frequently Asked Questions

What's an "arboretum"?
The word "arboretum" is derived from the Latin "arbor" - tree. An Arboretum is thus a Botanical Garden specializing in woody plants.

Are the trails marked?
Some of our trails have signage. The main hiking trails are however unmarked.

Is there a coffee shop or snack shop at the Arboretum?
No, but the Book and Gift Shop sells bottled water, sodas, juices and snacks.

Is there a bird checklist?
Yes, a checklist may be obtained from the Visitor's Center/Book and Gift Shop. The most common birds are Cockatoos, Mynas, White-rumped Shama thrushes, Mejiro (Japanese white-eye), Common waxbills, Northern cardinals, Brazilian cardinals, bulbuls, doves, house finches and sparrows. The most-often seen (or heard) endemic Hawaiian bird in the Arboretum is the 'amakihi.

Is Lyon Arboretum part of Paradise Park?
No, Lyon Arboretum is not part of Paradise Park. Lyon is a Research Unit of the University of Hawaii, and falls administratively under the College of Natural Sciences.

What's happening with Paradise Park? - Will it be bought by the University of Hawaii?
The situation at Paradise Park is still unclear. Recent reports indicate, that funding originally allocated for purchasing Paradise Park for the University of Hawaii has been revoked by Governor Lingle. Please check the local press for details, or contact your State Representative.

How long does it take to walk through the Arboretum?
Lyon Arboretum has many trails and some people spend half the day exploring. A leisurely hike up the "Ti Walk", which goes up to the Bromeliad Garden and Inspiration Point and back to the parking lot, takes almost 1 hour (round trip).

How do we get to the waterfall?
Aihualama Falls on the Arboretum grounds can be reached by hiking from our parking lot to the end of Lyon Arboretum Road (the service road). The road connects to a footpath on the left, which leads to Aihulama Falls. The total walk is about 1.5 miles (round trip).

To get to nearby Manoa Falls, which is part of the State of Hawaii's trails System, and not part of the Lyon Arboretum, we recommend going back out to our main gate and walking the trail from there. The trailhead to Manoa Falls begins just before you enter the Arboretum grounds. The walk to the falls and back is 1.6 miles.

Do people live here?
Yes, two houses are residences for staff.

Do you rent out the other cottages?
No they aren't available to the public. However, In the future one cottage will be available as living space for visiting researchers or students.

Do you sell plants here?
Yes, plants are for sale at the main greenhouse.

What are those really tall trees with the broad,layered-looking tops?
Those are Albizia trees (Falcataria moluccana), which are native from Southeast Asia to New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Albizia trees can grow up to 40 meters tall. Our particular acquisition was introduced from Java in 1919.

Are those pine trees that we see around the Arboretum and all over Manoa Valley?
NO, they are not Pines, they are Araucarias. Although they are conifers like real pines, the Araucarias belong to a different plant family (the "Araucariaceae"). This family is only found in the Southern Hemisphere, wheras the Pine Family ("Pinaceae") is restricted to the Northern Hemisphere. The most common Araucarias in manoa valley are the Cook "Pines" (Araucaria columnaris) which are native to New Caledonia, the Loyalty Islands, and the Isle of Pines. This is the most common Araucaria grown in the state of Hawai'i, and is often mistaken for the Norfolk Island "Pine" (Araucaria heterophylla).

Why do those gingers look like they are dying?
Gingers and some other tropical plants in the Tacca and Maranta families, typically go dormant for a period of six months, roughly from October to April, which is our rainy season.

We hear chainsaws and see fallen trees. Why are trees being removed?
The Arboretum cares for the forest by removing declining, dead, or fallen trees as part of its responsibility of tending to this living museum. Tree removals are also necessary to get rid of weedy trees which compete with more desirable trees in our garden.