Tonga National Herbarium (TON)

The Tonga National Herbarium is maintained by the Ministry Agriculture and Food, Forestry, and Fisheries at the Vaini Research Station. It contains more than 3000 specimens from several collectors including Hurliman, G. Yuncker, G. Buelow, and Art Whistler.

The modern period of collecting in Tonga began with the work of G. Buelow, who worked in Tonga from 1977 to 1983 as a Peace Corps voluneer, and compiled by far the largest collection of any botanist working in Tonga. He collected throughout Tonga, but his work has never been published. His specimens are stored at the Christchurch Herbarium in New Zealand, and the Bishop Museum. At about the same time (1977 and 1978) another significant, but smaller, collection was made by W.R. Sykes on ‘Eua, Vava‘u, and Late. His collections are a basis for his fern study of ‘Eua (Sykes 1977) and a vegetation study of Late (Sykes 1981). However, Sykes’ collections, which probably number over 900 (nos. 1 to 903), are stored at Christchurch, but have never been published. A complication in the counting of Buelow and Sykes’ specimens exists because they collected together on Vava‘u and Late, with their “Buelow & Sykes” numbers numbering about 286 specimens, starting from “1.” The most recent large collection of Tongan plants was made by Whistler. Information from these collections and his fieldwork in Tonga are the basis of a comparison of the vegetation of Tonga with that of Samoa (Whistler 1992), but little taxonomic work has been done on these specimens. His collections, which number about 1514 (nos. 4973–4983, 5940–6779, 7103–7502, 9873–9874, 10542–10734, 11339–11354, 11674–11705, 11778–11784, 12165–12178), are stored in Whistler's personal collection at the University of Hawai‘i Joseph F. Rock Herbarium, with numerous duplicates in various other herbaria.
Contacts: Waikato Aholelei,
Collection Type: Preserved Specimens
Management: Data snapshot of local collection database
Last Update: 12 January 2016
Digital Metadata: EML File
Rights Holder: Ministry of Agriculture Forestry, Fisheries and Food
Access Rights: not-for-profit use only
Tonga National Herbarium
Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Forestry and Fisheries
Vaini Research Station
PO Box 14
Nuku`alofa, Tongatapu   
Kingdom of Tonga
[676] 37-474
Collection does not actively provide loans.
Collection Statistics
  • 569 specimen records
  • 187 (33%) georeferenced
  • 1 (0.18%) with images
  • 257 (45%) identified to species
  • 47 families
  • 86 genera
  • 94 species
  • 94 total taxa (including subsp. and var.)
Extra Statistics