Argemone glauca is an endemic plant, known in Hawaii as Pua Kala or Hawaiian Prickly Poppy. It favors the hot, dry, and sunny conditions on the west side of the island and can grow anywhere from the coast, where these were, all the way up to subalpine areas of the volcanoes.
Tibouchina urvilleana hails from Brazil and is also known as purple glory bush and princess flower. Its flowers have striking deep blue to purple petals, which contrast nicely with dark pink sepals. Here on the Big Island, it’s a bit of a problem because of it’s dense growth habit which can crowd out other plants.
The mock orange next to the house has bloomed again. It does this several times a year, sometimes just parts of it, sometimes all of it. This latest bloom was the whole tree and when that happens the bees come out in force. Step outside, and a low hum fills the air as well as an intense aroma.
I take lots of photos, trying to capture something of interest to me, such as a bee approaching a flower (top), helicoptering in to land (middle), and getting stuck in (bottom). In the bottom photo, I was struck by the flat underside of the bee, not something I’d noticed before.
Pluchea carolinensis is also known as sourbush and cure-for-all. This latter name probably comes from its medicinal use in its native range, which is the tropical Americas. It’s a member of the aster family – Asteraceae.
The plant was first reported in Hawaii in 1931 and on the Big Island in 1933. It’s believed to be an accidental introduction, possibly associated with shipping to Hawaii and within the islands. The onset of World War II prompted the plant’s spread through the Pacific, probably in military shipments.
On the Big Island it’s most often seen in drier coastal areas, but it can tolerate a variety of climates and conditions. These photos were taken on the Puna Coast Trail in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
For more information about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, go to nps.gov/havo/.
Calotropis procera, also known as Apple of Sodom, is a member of the milkweed family. A native of parts of Africa and Asia, it’s another of the many invasive plants that have found a home in Hawaii. On the plus side, it’s a host plant for Monarch butterfly caterpillars, while the butterflies themselves feed on the flowers.
In these photos, you can see the leaves, flowers, and the large green fruits of the plant.
This evergreen tree, also known as Natal Plum, hails from South Africa. The fruit is edible and the flowers fragrant. In Hawaii, it’s also grown as a hedge, particularly in coastal areas, as it tolerates both salt and wind.
A leafcutter bee burrows down on to an Aptenia haeckeliana flower. This flower is similar to the aptenia cordifolia, but is pale yellow instead of magenta.
This drynaria rigidula ‘Whitei’ basket fern was growing on a tree trunk at Hawai’i Tropical Botanical Garden (which has since change its name). I like basket ferns, which look like upturned umbrellas. This fern was complemented by a dinema polybulbon orchid, a delicate and fragrant epiphytic orchid that was winding it’s way up into the fern.
For more information about Hawai’i Tropical Bioreserve & Garden (formerly Hawai’i Tropical Botanical Garden), go to htbg.com.