Kiawe trees (Prosopis pallida) are native to the northeastern corner of South America. They were introduced to Hawaii way back in 1828 and now are the dominant tree in coastal areas on the drier west side of this island. The downside of this is that the tree has wicked thorns that penetrate tires and footwear. My feet have been jabbed through Teva sandals and Adidas hiking shoes. The most popular footwear in Hawaii are slippahs (flip-flops or thongs), but one has to be brave and vigilant, or maybe foolish, to wear those where kiawe grow.
On the plus side, the tree’s wood is popular for firewood and barbecues. Kiawes also provide shade and have light yellow flowers which are popular with bees and butterflies such as the painted lady butterfly in this photo.
The current Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Something Different.’ See more responses here.
I think in my 6+ years of doing this blog, I’ve posted exactly one black and white photo. So a selection of black and white scenes seemed like a suitable response for this challenge.
The top photo is of morning clouds scudding over Mauna Kea as seen from the top of Pu’u Wa’awa’a. Second is a shot of surf crashing against an old wharf in North Kohala and, yes, I was secretly hoping the man on the wharf would get soaked! Third is a tenacious tree on the coast near Kawaihae. The bottom photo shows a small fishing boat in the ʻAlenuihāhā Channel, as seen from the North Kohala coast.
Earlier this month, I got up in the wee hours to view the Quadrantids meteor shower, with the idea of taking photos. My camera isn’t the greatest for this, but in the event, it didn’t matter. I caught a peripheral glimpse of one meteor and that was it.
Still, the effort wasn’t without its rewards. The sky was clear and starry, and I liked this scene of the illuminated building, the large kiawe tree, and the dark, starlit sky.
This is my third post on this week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme of ‘Yin-Yang.’ See more responses here.
I spotted this male northern cardinal wrestling with a kiawe seed pod, but had to leave before I could see how the duel ended. I suspect the cardinal won. He was certainly putting in enough effort to do so.
The northern mockingbird arrived in Hawaii in 1928 and is quite common now. It is most easily seen when it perches at the top of a tree and sings, as in the photo to the left. Later, this one descended into the heart of a kiawe tree where it looked out from the tangle of branches and thorns.
When twigs break off a kiawe, the thorns dry to hard, sharp spikes.
Kiawe thorns growing on the tree.
A stand of kiawe trees bordering a trail.
Hiking on the west side of the Big Island can be a hot and arid experience. The landscape is often barren lava or scrubby growth. If it’s scrubby growth, chances are that kiawe trees (Prosopis pallida) are prominent and if they are, it’s wise to tread carefully. That’s because kiawe trees produce long, tough thorns.
Hiking in slippahs (flip flops) is asking for trouble. A kiawe thorn will go through them like a knife through wet tissue. I’ve felt the jab of these thorns through my Tevas, which have robust soles of decent thickness. The first time I wore my new trail shoes, toward the end of the hike, crossing a kiawe-bordered beach, I felt a familiar prick in my foot. A thorn had buried itself in the ¾-inch thick sole and penetrated far enough to make itself felt. One of my routine tasks with my trail shoes, and the Tevas, is to examine the soles and extract any thorns with a pair of pliers. When a hike is over, it doesn’t mean the danger is past. Drive over one of these thorns and it can and does cause punctures.
But if all this makes it seem as if kiawes are reviled, that’s not the case. It’s widely used in smoking meats. The smell of burning kiawe is commonplace.
Kiawe isn’t a native tree; it originated in Peru. In fact, all Hawaii’s kiawes can trace their roots, as it were, back to a single seed planted by a priest in Honolulu in 1828.