Category Archives: Flowers

Basket fern and orchid

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.

Yucca flowers

I see this stand of yuccas on the drive into Waimea and watch for it to bloom. When it does, late afternoons are the best time for photographs so I try to remember to stop on the way back from hiking off Saddle Road or at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. In this instance, it was the latter, and I was passing by around 6 pm.

Look closely at the top photo and the telescopes of Mauna Kea can be seen in the distant background, which is a bit unusual for this time of day, morning being their time to shine.

Bee on a ribwort plantain

When I saw this bee I thought, I know that plant, but what’s the name of it? Well, it’s ribwort plantain, but my knowledge of it stems from many years ago when, as kids, we used to pick them, loop the stem around just below the head of the plant, and then jerk that loop forward to send the head of the plant zinging in the direction of the intended victim. It was amazing how far those heads would travel.

This bee is using the plant for more beneficial purposes.

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

Beach pea vine

Beach pea vine (Vigna marina) is an indigenous plant with flowers and seed pods that clearly identify it as a member of the pea family. It fares well on the coast because it’s salt tolerant. It spreads, forming large swathes stretching away into the distance, as in the top photo.

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

Leopard orchid

Leopard orchids (Grammatophyllum scriptum) come from the low-lying coastal areas of Southeast Asia. They produce abundant, showy flowers, but can grow to be quite large. Because of this growth habit, they’re most often seen in botanical gardens rather than domestic gardens.

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

Pinkhead smartweed

This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘The Color Pink.’ See more responses here.

Pinkhead smartweed (Polygonum capitatum or Persicaria capitata) is a groundcover that hails from western China and the Himalayas. It’s variously known as pinkhead knotweed, pink knotweed, Japanese knotweed, pink-headed persicaria, or pink bubble persicaria. I use pinkhead smartweed for the very good reason that I like the name. It sounds like the name of someone pretentious, but slightly seedy, from the alleged upper crust of society.

In this bounty of names, a couple of elements stand out. One is ‘pink,’ the other is ‘weed.’ This is a very pink plant and, in Hawaii and elsewhere, an invasive weed. Drive eastbound over Saddle Road (officially Hawaii Route 200, the Daniel K. Inouye Highway) and, once you cross the saddle and begin your descent, this plant will become obvious very quickly. It lines the road on both sides for several miles with very little in the way of other plants competing for that space. This is because pinkhead smartweed will grow in poor ground and lava fields fit that description.

This is also a stretch of highway that, relatively recently, was converted from a narrow, winding road, that rental car companies routinely forbid their clients from driving on, to a wide, smooth thoroughfare, the only place on the island where you can legally go 60 mph, and where you can expect to receive a ticket if you go 80 mph like everybody else.

Redoing the road left verges of rock and gravel and very little else. Pinkhead smartweed was quick to move in and colonize this unpromising territory so that now the descent toward Hilo begins with pleasing pink borders.

The top photo shows the rugged kind of ground pinkhead smartweed can grow in. To the right, bees appreciate the flowers of this plant growing at an elevation over 5,000 feet. Below, the collapse of a lava tube has left a shady hole where pinkhead smartweed, an endemic amaumau fern, and an ohia tree have established a good foothold.