Category Archives: Plants

Rainbow yellow

The third of my rainbow colors in response to Becky’s April Squares challenge theme of ‘Bright.’ (See more responses here.)

Today’s rainbow was taken from Kohala Mountain Road and looks down towards the southern edge of Waimea.

In the middle, a bright yellow saffron finch perches on a bare branch of a plumeria. There were zero leaves on this tree and only a few budding flowers, such as the one next to the finch.

And finally, the yellow robe of the painted statue of King Kamehameha I in Kapaau.

Rainbow orange

A rainbow over Kawaihae, Hawaii
Orange flags by a pedestrian crossing
An orange Kou flower in Hawaii

This is the second of my little series of rainbow colors in response to Becky’s April Squares challenge theme of ‘Bright.’ (See more responses here.)

In the top photo, a rainbow arcs over the port of Kawaihae.

Below that are orange flags available for waving while crossing the street. I haven’t yet felt the need to use them, still being able to leap out of the way of drivers focused on their phones! Actually, drivers here are pretty good about stopping for people to cross the street. I’m more surprised by how many people will just step out into traffic 20 feet up from the crosswalk. Then they look aggrieved if you fail to stop instantaneously.

The bottom photo shows the lovely flower of the kou tree (Cordia subcordata). Kou is indigenous to Hawaii but is also a canoe plant, brought here by Polynesian settlers. It likes the sun and grows along the coast.

Rainbow red

A rainbow off the Kohala coast, Hawaii
A bright red hibiscus flower
The door of St. Augustine's Episcopal Church in Kapaau, Hawaii

This month’s Becky’s Squares challenge theme is ‘Bright.’ (See more responses here.) Since I plan to post some bright colors in response, I thought I’d do that using a rainbow theme.

I’m starting with a rainbow off the north Kohala coast followed by a bright red hibiscus flower growing wild on that same coast. The third photo shows the front door of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Kapaau, illuminated by a single bright light.

Maiapilo

Maiapilo flowers in Hawaii
Maiapilo flowers in Hawaii
A bee forages on a Maiapilo flower in Hawaii

Maiapilo (Capparis sandwichiana) is an endemic plant that requires little water once established and is also salt tolerant. This means it grows well on the dry side of the island along the coast. This of course is also an area popular with humans, both for living and recreation. Consequently, maiapilo is considered an at risk plant.

Its standout feature is the beautiful white flowers, but if you want to see them, bring a flashlight or be prepared to get up early. Maiapilo blooms at night and begins to wilt early in the morning, fading to pink as it does so.

These photos were taken around nine in the morning and the bees were busy exploring and pollinating the flowers. At night though, native moths are the main pollinators, attracted by the white flowers and pleasant lemon scent. A cucumber-like fruit follows the flowers but, unlike them, it is said to have a very pungent smell.

The plant can be low-growing and sprawling, or a more upright shrub reaching 10 feet.

Praying mantis egg sacs

A praying mantis egg sac on a branch
A praying mantis egg sac on a branch
A praying mantis egg sac on a tree trunk

When I’m out walking, I rarely see praying mantis egg sacs. They’re no more than an inch long and they can blend in with the trees and branches where they tend to be found. However, on a recent walk on the coast, I saw these three sacs in the space of 20 minutes, the top two on branches and the third on a tree trunk.

I’m not sure why they caught my eye, though this is the time of year when they’re typically seen. Perhaps it was because I was watching for butterflies and dragonflies, so was paying a bit more attention to details than usual.

Each sac can contain up to 300 eggs. The eggs are encased in foam, called ootheca, which hardens into the sacs seen here. The sac in the middle photo was crawling with ants, which I suspect is not good news for the would-be mantises inside.

Butterfly on a kiawe flower

A Painted Lady Butterfly feeds on a kiawe flower

Kiawe trees (Prosopis pallida) are native to the northeastern corner of South America. They were introduced to Hawaii way back in 1828 and now are the dominant tree in coastal areas on the drier west side of this island. The downside of this is that the tree has wicked thorns that penetrate tires and footwear. My feet have been jabbed through Teva sandals and Adidas hiking shoes. The most popular footwear in Hawaii are slippahs (flip-flops or thongs), but one has to be brave and vigilant, or maybe foolish, to wear those where kiawe grow.

On the plus side, the tree’s wood is popular for firewood and barbecues. Kiawes also provide shade and have light yellow flowers which are popular with bees and butterflies such as the painted lady butterfly in this photo.

Phalaenopsis Minho Princess orchid

A Phalaenopsis Minho Princess orchid at Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Garden

This Phalaenopsis Minho Princess orchid was at Hawai’i Tropical Bioreserve & Garden. The garden has been closed for almost a year now because of the Covid-19 pandemic. I haven’t seen any indication of when it will reopen though it will undoubtedly do so when conditions are right.

For more information about Hawai’i Tropical Bioreserve & Garden, go to htbg.com.