The tropical climate of the Hawaiian Islands is quite
hospitable, making the area particularly rich in flora.
The isolation of the islands, sitting in the middle of
the Pacific Ocean, 2,400 miles from the nearest
continent, has also had an effect. Many species of plants
are endemic, or found nowhere else in the world. Some are
even limited to such small areas of the Big Island as
Kipuka Puaulu. Of the more than l,700 plant species once
found in Hawaii, at least 90 percent were endemic. Many
of these are now extinct, forced out by "alien," or
introduced, plants, of which there are now more than
4,600 species. Many of the remaining endemic species are
now listed as Endangered.