Category Archives: Plants

Cannonball tree flowers

Cannonball tree flowers on a tree in Hawaii
Cannonball tree flowers on a tree in Hawaii
Cannonball tree flowers on a tree in Hawaii

The last time I visited Hawai’i Tropical Bioreserve & Garden, the Cannonball Trees (Couroupita guianensis) were flowering more abundantly than I’d ever seen them before. The flowers appear on the tree trunk, but these went all the way to the top and seemed to be blooming on some of the high branches. It was an impressive sight, especially in one instance where a heavily blooming tree was backed by a second tree loaded with cannonball fruits.

After the bloom is over, the petals litter the ground, a final splash of color in the dappled light.

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Cannonball tree flower petals on the ground in Hawaii

Lady beetles on passion vine leaves

Ants and ladybugs on a passion vine leaf

I spotted these two lady beetles on the underside of a passion vine leaf. The top one is a Seven-spotted Lady Beetle, the other a Variable Lady Beetle. But what got my attention was the fact that they appeared to be interested in the yellow spots on the leaf, as were several ants.

I knew that some passion vines produce these colored bumps to make it look like butterfly eggs are already there. Butterflies don’t like to lay eggs where another butterfly has already done so, though the leaf bumps aren’t foolproof in this regard (see here).

What I didn’t know was that the bumps produce nectar, which attracts ants, as was the case here. And the ants will defend this food source against caterpillars munching on the leaves. Isn’t nature fascinating!

Butt out

A Bee on a mock orange.

When I got home from work yesterday afternoon, the sun was shining, the mock orange was blooming, and the bees were busy. So I took some photos, the last one of which was the top one, which is posted in response to Bushboy’s Last on the Card photo challenge (see more responses here).

That photo is unedited for the challenge, but the bottom one shows how I’d edit it, mostly involving a crop to remove some dead space and put the bee in a better place.

A Bee on a mock orange.