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.
A painted lady butterfly feeds on the small blooms of a tree heliotrope. This particular tree heliotrope stand by itself on a small beach on the North Kohala coast. It’s a popular destination for a variety of butterflies and bugs.
The long-tailed blue butterfly (Lampides boeticus) is believed to have been accidentally introduced to Hawaii in the 1880s. Accidental or not, it wasn’t a good thing. Its common name, bean butterfly, gives a clue as to the problem. It damages a wide variety of bean and pea plants, both domestic and commercial.
These photos were taken on the Puna Coast Trail in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The plant is Vigna marina or beach pea, an indigenous plant that grows well in the harsh, exposed coastal area that the trail passes through.