Joseph F. Rock Herbarium
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Dr. Joseph F. Rock

Dr. Joseph F. Rock (1884-1962), botanist and famed explorer honored with naming of University of Hawaii’s plant specimen collection.

Dr. Joseph F. RockThe University of Hawaii's Herbarium has been named in honor of Joseph Francis Charles Rock. Joseph Rock was born in Vienna, Austria in 1884. He arrived to Honolulu in 1907 at the age of 23, where he became the Territory’s first botanist. He was appointed as UH faculty in 1911 and was responsible for creating the first university herbarium. He served as the curator from 1911-1920, and quickly became an authority on the local flora. His botanical knowledge was largely self-taught, nevertheless, Rock's contributions to Hawaiian botany were significant. He was responsible for planting more than 500 species of plants on the grounds of the Mānoa campus, many of these trees are still present on the campus landscape.

In the 12 years he spent exploring Hawaii and plant collecting, he published 56 papers and described many new plant species. In 1920, he left the University of Hawaii to spend the next three decades in active exploration and research for the National Geographic Society, studying the flora, peoples and languages of China, Tibet, Burma, and Thailand. Rock is considered by many to be the father of Hawaiian botany. In April 1962, the University of Hawaii honored Rock with a Doctor of Science degree. He died in Honolulu on December 7, 1962, at the age of 79.

Herbarium Director and Botany Department Chairperson Dr. Tom Ranker said “Almost 100 years after the herbarium's collections were started, it is timely to honor Joseph Rock not only as a pioneering botanist and plant explorer but also for his many scientific contributions in linguistics, philology, history, geography, and anthropology—he was a man of wide interests, talent, and vision”. Read the news release

In the Footsteps of Joseph Rock
Joseph F. Rock Literature
Joseph F. Rock - Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation
Harvard University - Joseph F. Rock on horseback and in Tibetan dress.
Search Digital images of Joseph F. C. Rock's Type Specimen Collections, Harvard University
- Joseph F. Rock

Open to Visitors by Appointment | Contact | Index Hebariorum | Hawaii Museum Association
Department of Botany, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, 3190 Maile Way,
Room 401 - St. John Plant Science Laboratory, Honolulu, Hawai`i 96822
Phone: 808.956.4168 Fax: 808.956-3923

A member of the University of Hawai'i Museum Consortium

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