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Wednesday, October 18, 2000

UH botanist
dies at 67

By Leila Fujimori

Professor Charles H. Lamoureux didn't just teach his students during the past 41 years. He taught Hawaii.

The University of Hawaii-Manoa botanist enlightened the public on the importance of native plants, the environment and conservation.

Lamoureux died Monday at age 67.

In 1961, Lamoureux's article published in the Star-Bulletin helped readers understand the difference between native and non-native, endemic and indigenous plants.

"This priceless heritage is being endangered as subdivisions encroach upon the native forests," he wrote.

Before Lamoureux became director of Lyon Arboretum in 1992, it was all cultivated plants, said botany department Chairwoman Sterling Keeley. "Now it's native plants and restored native plants.

"It's changed people's thinking whether to grow cultivated plants or native plants."

The arboretum, UH-Manoa's botanical garden, is a research unit to develop new plants for Hawaiian gardens as well as rescue rare varieties from extinction.

The Rhode Island native came to Hawaii to complete his master's degree at UH-Manoa and earned his doctorate from the University of California-Davis in 1961.

Lamoureux joined the UH faculty in 1959.

At UH, Lamoureux has held many administrative roles, from botany department chairman to associate dean for academic affairs in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences.

"He was a fabulous botanist and just so knowledgeable of all kinds of plants," Keeley said.

In 1967, Lamoureux and other UH scientists discovered the Maui nukupuu, a small bird thought to have been extinct for 70 years.

As a researcher, he did field work in American Samoa, Bali, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands. He was a world authority on plants. He served as consultant to agencies ranging from the state Department of Business and Economic Development to UNESCO.

Memorial services are pending.

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