Ohia Lehua flower
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Country or State Flower.’ See more offerings here.
The country flower for the USA is the rose and I don’t have photos of those. The state flower for Hawaii is the hibiscus and, while I have lots of those, they’re all of Chinese hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis). The state flower is the native yellow hibiscus (Hibiscus brackenridgei) and I have none of those. The native hibiscus is not often seen in the wild and is currently considered an endangered species, but it is used as an ornamental in domestic gardens.
Having struck out on the two proper responses to this challenge, I’ve chosen to post photos of the official flower of the Big Island, the red ʻōhiʻa lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha). A member of the myrtle family, ʻōhiʻa lehua is endemic to Hawaii. It’s one of the first trees to colonize lava flows. It’s able to survive in such a tough environment because its roots grow down into lava tubes and other voids in the lava and tap into the moisture there.
Recently, ʻōhiʻa trees have been attacked by a fungus which can cause the trees to die within a very short time. This disease, known as Rapid ‘Ohi’a Death, is caused by two new types of Ceratocystis fungus.