Friday, January 22, 2010

Hawaiian Flora

My last post was on Hawaiian fauna; today, it's Hawaiian flora.

We vacationed on the western, or Kona, side of Hawaii (a.k.a. "the Big Island), where things are a lot dryer than the eastern, or Hilo, side (where it rains an average of 150 inches a year!).

Some of the things one associates with the islands, like Hibiscus flowers, were not plentiful around the area we stayed (the Hilton Waikoloa).

On a lovely walk down by the hotel's dramatic, black-and-white beach...

I saw one lone red Hibiscus flower:

The Bougainvillea was very abundant, however. I fell in love with this patch, which ranged from cream to light lavender shades:


This gorgeous pot, with its snow-white and purple mixture, sits in the Hilton's parking lot:

And I found this unusual orange color of Bougainvillea on the walk back to our car after whale watching:

These polka-dotted ferns are cute! They lined a lagoon near the whale-watching point:

One legend for the Naupaka flower (below) is that it's half a blossom because the fire goddess Pele got mad at a couple, tore them asunder, and flung them to live apart forever. So one version of this flower grows only at the beach, and a second variety grows only on the volcanic slopes.

Never make a goddess mad!

This wonderfully oddball bloom was in the center of our table at the Mauna Kea Resort. More on that night's feast in another post.

Until next time, here's a look at the "default" mode of the western side of Hawaii: Everywhere is lava fields. Unless it's been manipulated heavily by people to look lush and green, like this strip near the entrance to our hotel:

Sure beats a bunch of Bermuda grass!

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