Monday, October 19, 2009

Flowers of Hawaii - Part 1

When we first arrived on The Big Island we had a few hours to kill before our rental van was ready. While we waited we looked through the tourist literature and looked at places to visit. Beth found a botanical garden and said we should go there so “Linda can take pictures.” I told her I wasn’t into flowers so much that I needed to visit the botanical gardens.

Those words came back to haunt me as Beth and Cheryl had to wait while I took pictures of every type of flower I came across.

I was taking pictures of this pretty little plant which didn’t seem to mind all the sulphuric gases from the craters and steam vents.

These plants fared better than these bushes which had many dead and dying leaves and berries. The flower sure is pretty, and if memory serves me correctly there’s a myth about how Pele (the volcano god) turned a beautiful woman into the flower so that she could stay near her lover forever.

Flowers seemed to be everywhere. Orchids are wildflowers on the Big Island and grow in bushes along the side of the road like the one to our vacation rental home. So delicate.

Right outside our house were some hibiscus plants and there was only one flower on them while we were there. But what a beauty.

The hibiscus is the state flower of Hawaii. We saw two other types of hibiscus when we were in the Waipio Valley. These ones are called sleeping hibiscus because they don’t ever open.

There was also the more rare double hibiscus which our guide picked for us. The valley was the only place we ever saw these.

The Waipio Valley is where I was first introduced to ginger flowers. I never connected ginger root with big bushes with lovely scented flowers. We saw them in three colours: white, yellow and purple. The white had my favourite scent and was most appealing to me esthetically. I was so happy to find the hand lotion and some bars of soap in this scent. Thanks Beth for convincing me to buy the second bottle of lotion for ‘you’.
The yellow grew in big bunches and seemed a bit more spindly.
Then there were the purple ones which I didn’t even realize were ginger until I saw them in a store which was selling the roots.

Beth teases me about my exclamations when I find things growing or living ‘in the wild’ when the only place I’ve ever seen them before is in stores or conservatories. This applied to the flowers and also the
fish I saw in the tidepools. I’ve seen these leaves in the conservatory back home in Winnipeg but didn’t know what they were.
Turns out they are wild tarot – and not edible like the domesticated tarot which is grown a lot in the Waipio Valley.

Speaking of flowers which are bad for you, the valley also has Angel Trumpets.
They sound, well… angelic but are anything but. They are very poisonous and if you touch them you really need to wash your hands and anything else that got in contact with them.

Here are a few other exotic looking flowers we found in the valley – of which I have no names for…
Please let me know the names if you happen to know what they are. This one is really strange and kind of gives me the creeps.
These are about half the flower photos. Will post the others on another day. Looking over the photos I took, I guess I was more ‘into’ flowers that I thought.


8 comments:

Alison Cummins said...

This is ginger:
http://www.fotosearch.com/photos-images/ginger-flower.html

The purple flowers you show look like a solanum (tomato/nightshade family) to me:
http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/research/projects/solanaceaesource/solanum/morphology.jsp

I'm glad you're having such a terrific time!

Alison Cummins said...

Ok, and the red flowers second and third from last look like heliconia, or false-bird-of-paradise:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heliconiaceae

FridaWrites said...

What gorgeous photos--my camera, to my dismay, won't do good closeups of flowers even with the special settings. These came out really nice! And must have been really lovely to see.

cheryl g said...

The flowers were so beautiful and exotic. I am so glad we went to Hawaii! Your photos are gorgeous!

Neil said...

I guess I'm sometimes still amazed by the Internet. It still seems so wonderful that such a variety of people are willing to share knowledge like this. Thank you, Linda, for helping Beth take us to Hawaii!

Beth's right; that orchid IS beautiful. And Alison looks to be right about the, um, purple ginger? I presume that it's a good thing you didn't pick some to spice up your supper.

JaneB said...

These are lovely - and I'm right with you over the excitement of seeing things where they naturally live, not just where humans put them, it's very interesting!

Kate J said...

What lovely pictures! I normally only see flowers like this when I'm at the botanic garden where I'm a volunteer... inside the glasshouse! How lovely to see them in the wild.
Hope the trip was worth it all... for you and Cheryl as well as for Beth. Certainly looks like it.
Love & peace

Lene Andersen said...

Just gorgeous. I'd totally been right behind you, taking copious photos of every new bit of flora I saw. Thanks for sharing!

p.s. ginger has flowers???