Astelia Menziesiana is an endemic plant that can grow as an epiphyte, as in this photo, or in the ground. It does best in cool temperatures, which is where these plants were found at around 6,000 feet in the area between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, but can also grow in warmer temperatures. Plants are either male or female and both have flowers, but only the female produce berries.
Staghorn clubmoss (Lycopodiella cernua) is indigenous to Hawaii and is found in the tropics worldwide. Generally, staghorn clubmoss grows in bogs and wet areas, but these were growing in the lava off Saddle Road, an area that gets lots of rain but also drains readily.
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Weathered.’ See more responses here.
In the top photo, a dead tree on the lower slopes on Mauna Kea, stretches weathered branches toward the sky.
Second photo: Petroglyphs in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park have been weathered by years of sun and rain, but are still clearly visible.
Third photo: A cattle ranch alongside old Saddle Road includes this old structure bordering a stockyard.
Bottom photo: Butterflies have a short lifespan, but in that time they can go from looking boldly marked and colored to very faded, with some looking like it’s a miracle they can fly at all.
For more information about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, go to nps.gov/havo/.
When I took this photo, I was thinking of the James Thurber short story, “The Owl Who Was God,” which can be read here. The main differences between that story and this photo are that pueos have very good eyesight during daylight hours, which is when they’re active, and no animals were harmed in the taking of this photo. The bird flew away shortly after I took it. He does have that look though.
Ohelo ’Ai (Vaccinium reticulatum) is an endemic shrub also known as the Hawaiian blueberry. It’s one of several kinds of native plant adapted to the harsh environment of a volcanic island. This plant was growing on a lava flow off Saddle Road, which is typical here. It does well in disturbed ground above 2,000 feet.
The berries, which are edible, are a food source for nenes, but I really like the delicate flowers and the leaves, which start out as a matching red.
Posted in response to Becky’s October Squares challenge theme of ‘Kind.’ See more responses here.
In Hawaii, a pu’u is a hill. These are old cinder cones that dot the landscape from the coast to the top of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea.
Along Old Saddle Road, the land and it’s pu’us are grass-covered. This pastureland is cattle, horse, and sheep country, with a lot of goats thrown in for good measure. The land is steep and and rough and the grass varied, but the rainfall is heavy enough that there’s a lot of it.
Old Saddle Road is one of my favorite drives on the island, particularly in the early morning (above) and late afternoon (below).
Posted in response to Friendly Friday challenge theme of ‘Splendour in the Grass.’ See more responses here.
I see this stand of yuccas on the drive into Waimea and watch for it to bloom. When it does, late afternoons are the best time for photographs so I try to remember to stop on the way back from hiking off Saddle Road or at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. In this instance, it was the latter, and I was passing by around 6 pm.
Look closely at the top photo and the telescopes of Mauna Kea can be seen in the distant background, which is a bit unusual for this time of day, morning being their time to shine.
Wild turkeys abound alongside the Old Saddle Road. This one was wandering through a green pasture bordered by an old fence.
Posted in response to Becky’s July Squares challenge theme of ‘Perspective.’ See more responses here.