Sunday, April 21, 2013

Hawaii Photos #3: Plants

With a mother who was florist for much of my childhood, I would probably get in trouble if I traveled to Hawaii and didn't take any pictures of the local plant life. So without further ado, I give you my little photo tour of the flora on Maui and the Big Island.

Twin Falls Farm
One of our first stops on our drive to Hana was at Twin Falls farm. As it turns out, the "twin falls" were little more than a babbling brook, but the path around the property was lined with a lovely variety of plants, pictured below.






Wasn't sure if I was supposed to post this picture in the Food or Plants category. haha I guess Chris got confused as well. Yummy bamboo?


Stops Along the Way
We continued our drive to Hana and found many sweet little nature trails tucked away, just off the road. It was nice to get out and stretch our legs every so often, and to see the variety of plants, which was astounding.

Not to mention we enjoyed getting to see the Hawaiian tradition of posting signs whenever possible. All over both islands, many locals posted handwritten signs in their yards to mark them as private, request drivers to go slow, promote the fruit their were selling on the honor system, and more. But this sign, obviously a bit more official, was my favorite.


And the sign told the truth. Check out the work this little tree was doing. It was growing its leaves in a spiral pattern up the trunk. How crazy is that?



This is a Hala tree - the roots grow above ground.
Tropical Flower Farm
Near the end of our drive, we came across this little place. We thought it was just a shop, but a sweet girl came out and took us on a free guided tour of the property. She identified all the different plants, told us stories, and let us take pictures. So nice.

They also had a greenhouse full of beautiful orchids, and it was just too tempting not to ship some home.




One of the odder flowers in the greenhouse we were considering purchasing.
Our guide also explained how they graft the orchids on to trees so they can have them grow anywhere, not just out of the ground. After this, we actually did see orchids growing out of trees around both islands.


Waianapanapa State Park
Say that name five times fast. haha

This was where we first met up with our friends Courtney and Brad. The ocean views were amazing (more pictures to come), but the plant life was also very pretty.

This plant is called Naupaka.

Not sure, but I think that's a Monkey Pod tree next to Courtney, Chris and Brad.
After the park, we made our way to our nearby accommodations for the night: a tree house. And as to be expected, the flowers and plants were abound there, too. See that huge flower in the middle of the room next to the ladder? (It was a cut stem the caretaker had placed there, but still cool.)


And of course, the view from the tree house was pretty amazing and full of awesome flora as well.

The tree on the right with the red/orange flowers is an African Tulip tree.
The caretaker had also left us with this awesome arrangement of flowers grown on the property.


Random Others
I totally loved the way this tree had grown up like a snake.


And these were just so bright and cheery, like flowers but better.


I Like Big ... Trees
One of the most famous types of trees in Hawaii is the Banyan tree. We had the luck of finding of couple of these massive guys. The neat thing about the Banyan is that is sends roots down from its branches into the ground.



The Banyan tree picture below covers two-thirds of an acre. Yep, that's all one tree in the picture below. All those "trunks" have the same root system and are part of the same tree. Look closely and you can see that the branches between each "trunk" actually connect to one another. Like that big branch that stretches across the middle of this picture. It is part of the system on the left and the one near the benches on the right.


Over the River and Through the Bamboo Forest
In the park that contained Ohe'o Gulch (aka the Seven Sacred Pools), we made a trek through a pretty bamboo forest. It was nuts to see how tall those trees grow, yet they are so skinny. It seems like they should just fall over.


This part of the forest was insane. I couldn't get my camera to capture it accurately, but when you entered this area, it got so dark you had to remove your sunglasses. It was like entering a room in a house. Completely walled in with just a little light trickling in from way up high.

 
Impressive Gardens
When we arrived at our condo in Maalaea Harbor, I was pretty impressed with the landscaping and all the flowers all over the place. I thought it was super sweet and photo worthy.


But then we went to the Big Island and stumbled across a botanical garden just north of Hilo.


And that's when I realized it was like I had never seen flowers before in my life. This place was bursting with all sorts of beautiful flora. If I remembered the names of any, I put it in the caption under the picture. The rest you'll have to just make up a neat name for, I guess. lol

Beehive Ginger (originates from Thailand)


Cat Whiskers

Flower-loving tourist


Elephant Ear

A crazy huge Elephant Ear

This guy was standing guard over the pretty flowers, I guess.


Pineapple plant

My favorite part of the whole place was the Orchid Garden. So gorgeous! I'd never seen so many different types of orchids in my life. And the little well with a bucket full of orchids was just too too adorable.

 







I liked this guy because his leaves were red on one side and spotted green on the other.


Last Few Plants (I Swear)
Here's a few more stragglers from my 9GB of pictures I took. (In other words, prepare yourself for a lot more pictures in future posts.)

When we contracted a guide to take us out across the lava rocks to see molten lava actually flowing into the ocean, she shared with us some local legends and stories, as well as a description of one of the few plants that actually lives out there in the barren lava wasteland.

The one pictured below is very young, but they grow to be tall trees that are used as a common source for wood on the islands.
Ohia tree. It's always the first to grow after lava destroys an area and can survive almost anywhere.

This flower was just pretty and on the back porch of one of the places we stayed.


And finally, I was super excited to see what coffee looks like in plant form. Here it is. Kind of not what you expected, right?

Coffee tree at Kona Joe's. Those are coffee beans!

Ok, that's all! Another category down. Next on the list is either accommodations or activities. Still waiting on pictures from Brad and Courtney, so I'm still holding out on a few of the best categories. But it's Hawaii, so they're all good. :-)