Category Archives: Plants

A kind of trail

It’s often easy to see cracks in a lava field because there are endemic ‘ae ferns (Polypodium pellucidum) growing in them and they make a distinct green line through the mostly gray lava.

Posted in response to Becky’s October Squares challenge theme of ‘Kind.’ See more responses here.

Sonoran carpenter bee

Sonoran carpenter bees are big. They’re the kind that, when I see one, I automatically flinch because I don’t want it to bump in to me and have it leave a bruise. Truth is, they’re pretty docile. This one is a female and has a stinger, but will only use it if provoked. Males are brown and somewhat smaller and don’t have a stinger at all.

Posted in response to Becky’s October Squares challenge theme of ‘Kind.’ See more responses here.

Ohelo ’Ai

Ohelo ’Ai (Vaccinium reticulatum) is an endemic shrub also known as the Hawaiian blueberry. It’s one of several kinds of native plant adapted to the harsh environment of a volcanic island. This plant was growing on a lava flow off Saddle Road, which is typical here. It does well in disturbed ground above 2,000 feet.

The berries, which are edible, are a food source for nenes, but I really like the delicate flowers and the leaves, which start out as a matching red.

Posted in response to Becky’s October Squares challenge theme of ‘Kind.’ See more responses here.

Brush fire aftermath

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Dry.’ (See more responses here.) I posted a photo of one of the local cow pastures yesterday (here), which would have been fine for this topic, but this is another aspect of these unusually dry conditions. It makes the land susceptible to fires.

There have been a couple of fires in the area recently. The first of these was caused by someone setting fire to an abandoned vehicle, which is something of a local sport. These photos were from the aftermath of the second fire. The cause is currently unknown, but about 40 acres were burned. I took these photos a couple of days after the fire happened and there were still some small areas emitting smoke.

The top photo shows burned areas and lighter brown unburned grass. When I walked on this grass it crunched beneath my feet, it’s so dry. The second photo shows a hotspot that was still putting out puffs of smoke. The bottom photo shows burned land next to the highway. In the center of this photo, that large metal pipe is there to channel water beneath the highway. If this seems redundant in this very dry scene, bear in mind that rains in the Kohala Mountains can send flash floods down these gullies and, without pipes like this one, the road could easily be washed out.

Halema’uma’u Trail

The trail winds down through woods and abundant vegetation.
Steps lead down from the mossy pass featured in a previous post.

Recently, I posted a couple of photos (here) of a section of the Halema’uma’u Trail in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. I thought I’d follow up with a few more photos of the trail, which runs from near the visitor center down to the edge of the summit caldera of Kilauea Volcano.

For more information about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, go to

The trail suddenly emerges at the edge of the summit caldera of Kilauea Volcano. In the morning, the bench is a shady spot to take in the view.
Halema’uma’u Trail carries on across the caldera, marked by cairns, but this section has been closed since 2008, when the Halema’uma’u Crater vent became active. These days it would lead straight into the depths of the greatly enlarged Halema’uma’u Crater.