Hawaiian Flora

O’ahu was in bloom while we were there.  There are always flowers blooming, but it seemed that there were so many more at this time of year.  Here is a small sample of what we saw.

The plumeria trees were lovely and fragrant.  They come in a number of colors and are a popular flower for lei making.

plumeriaplumeriaThe Ti plant is a common garden plant that was brought to Hawaii by the Polynesians long before Cook’s arrival.  It was used for many things including roof thatching, clothing, rope, food wrappers and plates, and whistles.  It comes in shades of red and green and is easy to grow.

Ti plant

This interesting Seagrape tree with clusters of edible fruits was growing on the little beach near our rented home.

Seagrape treeBird of Paradise, a relative of the banana plant blooms readily in gardens.  This one was in Mariko’s yard.

Bird of ParadiseThe Prickly Pear cactus, a plant that was brought from Mexico was in full bloom as we hiked up Makapu’u Point.

Prickly Pear cactusPrickly Pear cactus bloomThis little cactus was also in bloom on Makapu’u point.  We found it on Koko Crater too.  The plant is relatively small and  low to the ground.  The balloon like bud opens to a fabulous flower that is easily 8″ across.

cactus flower

We visited the beautiful cactus garden at Kapiolani Community College on the slopes of Diamond Head.  I have always loved cactus and there were so many in bloom.  Here are probably way too many pictures of this incredible place.

Kapiolani Community College cactus gardenKapiolani Community College cactus gardenKapiolani Community College cactus gardenDSC_0334Kapiolani Community College cactus gardenKapiolani Community College cactus gardenKapiolani Community College cactus gardenWe found some beautiful golden lichen in the scrub trees at the top of Koko Crater.


A drive north across the island takes you by old abandoned sugar cane fields and coffee and pineapple plantations.  By the end of the twentieth century, Hawaii’s sugar industry could not compete with cheap sugar production around the world but the culture of sugar largely made Hawaii what it is today.

sugar caneIt takes two years in the field for each pineapple plant to produce one fruit.

pineapple fields

Rows of coffee plants:

coffee plantsNaupaka is native to Hawaii and grows in clumps among the dunes near the ocean.  At Kaena Point, the Laysan Albatross and the Wedge-tailed Shearwater nest among them.

NaupakaNaupaka growing on the dunes


2 Responses to “Hawaiian Flora”

  1. 1 Steph July 18, 2009 at 9:50 am

    I don’t know if we’ll ever make it to Hawaii (no bridge)- so thanks for the all the pictures! I loved all the cactus pictures. We were in AZ when just about nothing was blooming and I remember thinking how beautiful it must be when they are in bloom. The blooms are such a contrast to their prickliness – very cool!

  2. 2 norma schlager July 19, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    What fun to see those exquisite tropical flowers, that we usually only see at the florist, in person. Oh, to have Bird of Paradise blooming in your backyard!

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