Category Archives: Trees

Orange fungi

Orange fungi on a tree stump

When I went to get a haircut recently, my hairdresser was busy with another client, so I took the opportunity to have a walk through her garden as I do sometimes. I found these splendid fungi growing from the stump of an old tree.

Posted for Becky’s Squares theme of “Walking” (See more responses here).

A walk from Spencer Beach Park to Hapuna

On the Ala Kahakai Trail between Spencer Beach Park and Hapuna
The beach at Mauna Kea Resort.

A few days ago, I posted here an image from a recent walk along the coast to Hapuna beach. I thought I’d post more photos from that walk for this week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme of ‘Paths and Trails’ (more responses here), and for Becky’s Squares theme of “Walking” (more responses here).

The trail crosses beaches large and small.

Of course, besides the views I was on the alert for anything moving on the beach or in the air.

Other parts pass through trees and other vegetation.

Wiliwili tree

Wiliwili tree flowers in Hawaii
Wiliwili tree flowers in Hawaii
Wiliwili tree flowers in Hawaii

A week ago, I posted (here) about a Wiliwili tree flowering at the foot of Pu’u Wa’a Wa’a. Wiliwili (Erythrina sandwicensis) is endemic to Hawaii and grows in dry forests on the leeward side of the island. Pu’u Wa’a Wa’a is one such place. While I’ve hiked here several times before, this is the first time I’ve seen a Wiliwili flowering.

Wiliwili is unusual for an Hawaiian tree in that it’s deciduous, dropping it’s leaves during summer droughts. It’s pollinated by birds, but on this day bees were the primary visitors.

Wiliwili seeds are easy to germinate and grow but, like many Hawaiian plants, it has been in decline, losing out to more robust non-native plants and to herbivores. The arrival in Hawaii of a a gall wasp, Quadrastichus erythrinae, greatly exacerbated the situation. However, biocontrol responses have been effective and the situation has been stabilized.

Wiliwili tree flowers in Hawaii

A new route up Pu’u Wa’a Wa’a

A view of PuuWaaWaa, Hawaii
Williwilli flowers at PuuWaaWaa, Hawaii

Pu’u Wa’a Wa’a is a cinder cone on the slopes of Hualalai volcano. The name means “many-furrowed hill,” and it’s a place I like to walk at least once a year, but it had been a while since I was up there. Usually, I go there in the spring when Jacarandas and other flowers are blooming. I also try to go in the early morning, since the area tends to cloud up during the day and the wonderful views become obscured.

A couple of weeks ago I made a late decision to do the hike again since the weather looked unusually good. I got there around 2pm and it will come as no surprise that I spent the first 15 minutes of the hike taking photos of Williwilli flowers on a tree about 20 feet from where I parked! (More of those in a few days.)

Silk oak flowers at PuuWaaWaa, Hawaii

The trail follows an old road up the hill past Silk Oak trees, at the tail end of their flowering and sporting a deep red hue I hadn’t seen before. Turn around, and there are good views of Maui to be had. The old road peters out near an old blockhouse, now lacking doors and windows, which offers shelter to livestock on the ranch here. Off to one side is an old quarry, which cuts into the side of the hill. Usually there are goats in this area, but I didn’t see any on this day. Farther up is what’s left of Tamaki Corral, which dates back around 100 years.

Not far after the corral, the trail climbs steeply toward the top. This was where I found a change in the trail. Whereas before the trail was an out-and-back up a steep slope to the top, now a loop has been created. I took this new option to the top where, on this remarkably clear late afternoon, I had great views of Maui, Kohala Mountain, Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, and Hualalai. A new sign at the top welcomes hikers to the nearly 4,000 foot summit, and there’s a survey marker at the top riddled with holes, not from gunfire, but to let the wind blow through. There are also a couple of benches where one can sit a while enjoying the views (weather permitting). The hike is steep in places, but not difficult, though not everyone makes it back alive!

I followed the old trail back down and ran into several sheep, which have the run of the land up here, as the sun dipped behind the ridge.

One other difference I noticed with this afternoon hike was the proliferation of birds. There were large numbers of finches, mostly Saffron Finches flitting about, preparing to roost for the evening. Yellow-fronted Canaries were all over the tree tobacco flowers. I also saw, and heard, several Erckel’s Francolins doing their usual fine job of blending in with the vegetation.

And as I walked back down the hill towards my car, the late afternoon sun still shone, illuminating grasses alongside the trail.

Grasses on PuuWaaWaa, Hawaii

Posted for Jo’s Monday Walk. See more walks here.

Cacao tree

Cacao pods at Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Garden
A cacao pod at Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Garden

I saw this Cacao Tree or Cocoa Tree (Theobroma Cacao) at Hawai’i Tropical Bioreserve & Garden. I think it’s been there a long time, but this is the first time I’ve noticed it with pods. The pods are the fruit of the tree and if you cut one open, inside you’ll find a cluster of fun-sized candy bars.

Well, maybe not, but you will find an important contributor to those candy bars, cacao seeds or beans, the prime ingredient in chocolate. Each of those seeds, up to 60 per pod, contains a large amount of fat, otherwise known as cocoa butter.

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