This book by W. Arthur Whistler is about the useful plants of the Pacific islanders, with special emphasis on plants used by Polynesians. A total of ninety-six plants are included, listed in alphabetical order by scientific name, followed by a paragraph that includes Polynesian names and their origins and the English name if any. Range, habitat, uses of the plant, and a botanical description of the species are also included for each entry.
Art Whistler has spent decades traveling throughout Polynesia, often with only a backpack, living with and studying the flora and people of these beautiful island groups. His was not a cursory work undertaken to acquire a graduate degree or fulfill a grant requirement―it was the result of a deep passion and interest in ethnobotany―an interest that has continued to grow with each passing decade. Whistler has become one of the world’s experts on this subject and has published several popular books on Polynesian plants and their uses. Plants of the Canoe People takes these previous literary works to a new level and draws upon Whistler’s years of field work to produce what will be a ‘must read’ for anyone interested in the ethno-biodiversity of the Pacific. — from the Foreword by Chipper Wichman, director, National Botanical Garden