I saw this Milo (Thespesia populnea) flower during a walk on the South Kohala coast and liked the different views it afforded. Milo is a canoe plant, brought to Hawaii by Polynesian settlers. It’s similar to another canoe plant, Hau (Hibiscus tiliaceus), but Milo is more of a tree and has different shaped leaves, pointed as opposed to heart-shaped.
This Milo tree was planted at Upolu Airport several years ago to provide shade for those visiting the area. The picnic table was positioned around the same time and chained to the tree so that no one would nick it!
Fast forward a few years, and the tree has grown and does provide shade, but it’s not what one might think of as a typical shade tree. The robust trade winds that blow here have given the tree its odd shape, a 90° bend not being typical of Milo trees growth. However, it still produces the most lovely blooms that I’ve posted about before here.
It will be interesting to see what it looks like in another five years. Probably a somewhat larger version of this photo, unless the winds get the better of it.
Posted in response to this month’s Becky’s Squares challenge theme of ‘Odd.’ See more responses here.
The milo tree (Thespesia populnea) is a canoe plant, brought to Hawaii by the early Polynesians, though it was probably already here before then and so is considered indigenous.
The flowers, which don’t open fully, start out a delicate yellow with red patches at the base, becoming dark pink later. The flowers are followed by green seed capsules which dry to brown.