Foster Botanical Garden

Phone (808) 522-7060
4.5 stars from 4 reviews
Address 180 N Vineyard Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96817
A botanical garden located in downtown Honolulu.

• General: Cost: Paid • General: Discount: Kama'aina
• General: Educational • General: Has Gift Shop
• General: Photo Opportunity • General: Restrooms
• Tours: Farm / Garden • Tours: Guided
• Tours: Self Guided

About Foster Botanical Garden
A garden in the midst of busy downtown Honolulu? Yes! And here at Foster Botanical Garden, visitors find a refreshing change from the chaos of the city. As the oldest of the Honolulu Botanical Gardens, Foster Garden displays a mature and impressive collection of tropical plants. Some of the magnificent trees in this 14-acre garden were planted in the 1850s by Dr. William Hillebrand. They marked the beginning of a heritage that became The Honolulu Botanical Gardens.
Beth Anderson's Take
Foster Botanical Garden is a 14 acre tropical oasis in the middle of the concrete jungle that is Honolulu on the island of O'ahu. It's also the oldest of the Honolulu Botanical Gardens.

They offer a huge variety of plants, flowers, and trees to stroll through on a self guided tour. Or, try one of their guided tours and you'll learn even more about this place.

Be sure to stop by their gift shop on the way out and take home a locally made souvenir. They're open daily except Christmas Day (December 25) and New Years Day (January 1).

Corpse Flower

This is also home to the unique and smelly Amorphophallus titanum, which is more commonly called the Corpse Flower. This species of plant produces the world's largest unbranched inflorescence (flower cluster). The flower, which is native to the Sumatran rainforest of Indonesia as well as the Philippines and other islands, can grow to over 10 feet tall when it blooms.

The flower doesn't bloom often and only lasts for a day or two so it's a pretty special event to see one in person. This explains why places that have one often get packed when they announce that their Corpse Flower is blooming. Add in what we call the "Hawaii Effect" (where masses of locals will turn out for virtually any event of any kind) and you can expect to wait in line to see this stinky creation.

As for the Corpse Flower name? That comes from the incredibly unique and surprisingly bad smell that the flower makes which, you guessed it, smells like a rotting dead animal corpse. This "fragrance" is sent out to attract flies and other pollinating insects. Even the flower's deep, red color and textures (which look like a piece of meat) add to the illusion.

Once the flower dies, a single leaf will grow from the underground corm and reach around 20 feet tall with a 15 foot canopy. The leaf dies every year and the process repeats. Only occasionally does a flower arise instead of a lead. The plant usually required 7 to 10 years of vegetative growth before it will bloom for the first time. Now you can see why it's such a special event when it does bloom.

Scientist have analyzed the chemicals released by the Corpse Flower and have found that chemicals like dimethyl trisulfide (found in limburger cheese), isovaleric acid (found in sweaty socks), and trimethylamine (found in rotting fish) are present. Indeed, it's a smelly flower that reminds us of a really smelly garbage can.
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Beth Anderson
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Joined: Jul 2013
Reviews: 383
Likes Received: 14
We visited the Foster Botanical Garden to see the Corpse flower. The grounds are beautiful and well kept. Even though you are right in the middle of the city it feels very peaceful there. There was a long line to see the corpse flower, but there was a volunteer talking about it's life cycle and showing pictures, so that made the time paws by a little faster. Seeing this flower has been something that I have wanted to do for a long time. It was so different from what I expected. It was so tall and smelled like a mix of decaying flesh, trash, and stinky feet. It was quite a treat.
Joined: Jul 2014
Reviews: 47
Likes Received: 10
I thought that the botanical garden was a lot of fun and definitely a very cool experience and it is nice because I got to see the corpse flower too.
Matt A
Joined: Feb 2013
Reviews: 803
Likes Received: 111
Foster is a really nice Botanical Garden. You wouldn't think there could be 14 acres of tropical plant goodness packed into this area but there is and it's pretty impressive to see. If you don't enjoy plants and nature it's probably not for you, but if you want to see some cool tropical plants then stop in. If the Corpse Flower is blooming (pretty rare event) that's a great excuse to stop in.
Consensus Guy
Joined: Jul 2013
Reviews: 11148
Likes Received: 26
Foster Botanical Garden has an overall 4 star average rating from many online reviews.
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