Curriculum vitae

W. Arthur (Art) Whistler was born near Death Valley, California, to whose barren landscape he attributes his early love of plants. After receiving a B.A. from the University of California at Riverside and his M.A. from the University of California at Santa Barbara, he served three years with the U.S. Peace Corps in Western Samoa, where he taught biology in high school (called college there). Resuming his schooling, he received a Ph.D. in Botany at the University of Hawai‘i in 1979. Over the last 30 years he has made numerous research trips to Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands, Tahiti, and elsewhere in the Pacific, working on the ethnobotany, medicinal plants, and flora of the islands. He has written a number of books on the botany of the Pacific Islands, including Flowers of the Pacific Island Seashore (1992), Tongan Herbal Medicine (1992), Polynesian Herbal Medicine (1992), Wayside Plants of the Islands (1995), Orchids of Samoa (co-author, 1996), Samoan Herbal Medicine (1996), Tropical Ornamentals (2000), and Plants in Samoan Culture (2001), and numerous scientific articles on medicinal plants, ethnobotany, and flora of Polynesia. A complete list of publications can be found in the "Publications" section. Dr. Whistler is currently an adjunct Associate Professor at the Lyon Arboretum in Honolulu and at the University of Hawai‘i Department of Botany, a field associate at the Bishop Museum, and is director of Isle Botanica, a consulting and publishing company, from which he continues his studies in Pacific Island botany.



  1. Independent consultant in botany, with projects completed in Hawai‘i, Guam, Kwajalein, Marshall Islands, Western Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, Okinawa, Korea, Indonesia, Indonesia, and Japan (1975—Present).
  2. Consultant with Char and Associates (1986—1991). This included fieldwork on Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements throughout Hawai‘i.
  3. Ethnobotanist with the National Tropical Botanical Garden (1983—1992).
  4. Lecturer in Botany, U.H. Botany Department (1979—1989).
  5. Office manager, Environment Consultants (Texas) in Honolulu (1976—1978).
  6. (Teaching Assistant in Botany, U. H. Botany Department (1972—1976)
  7. Visiting Fellow, East West Center Program on Environment (1998—1999)

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