Friday, November 7, 2014

Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, part 2 of 2

Part 1 of this post ended at the edge of Onomea Stream. Let’s continue from there.

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Onomea Stream just below Onomea Falls. As you can see, the setting is magnificent. I was imagining laying in a hammock between two of the palm trees, frozen in time so I would never have to leave.

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The much-touted three-tiered Onomea Falls ended up being a bit disappointing. It’s pretty, but it’s certainly not “the most beautiful in Hawaii” (1). But who cares when everything around it is breathtaking.

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Asterogyne palm (Asterogyne martiana)

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There’s stuff growing wherever you look

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Torch ginger (Etlingera elatior)

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Torch ginger (Etlingera elatior)

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Red ginger (Alpinia purpurata ‘Tahitian Double’)

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Bambusa vulgaris ‘Vittata’ along Onomea Stream. Bambusa vulgaris may be the most common bamboo species in the tropics but it still makes my heart beat faster every time I see it. (It’s very frost-sensitive so it would never grow where I live, and that’s zone 9b!)

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Bambusa vulgaris ‘Vittata’

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Bambusa vulgaris ‘Vittata’

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No clue what tree this is, but the smooth bark is beautiful

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Yellow beehive ginger (Zingiber spectabile ‘Singapore Gold’)

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Yellow beehive ginger (Zingiber spectabile ‘Singapore Gold’)

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Blue ginger (Dichorisandra thyrsiflora), this one from Brazil

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Alcantarea imperialis (previously Vriesea imperialis), a giant bromeliad from Brazil (the rosette was easily 5 ft across)

Another thing I have a hard time getting used to when visiting the tropics: seeing what I consider house plants growing rampant in the ground!

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Anthurium andraeanum cultivar

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Calathea zebrina

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Calathea lancifolia

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Calathea lindeniana; the flowers belong to an undetermined peace lily cultivar (Spathiphyllum sp.)

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Calathea lindeniana

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Undetermined Alocasia species, looking a lot like the ‘Borneo Giant’ I have

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Undetermined Alocasia species

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Australian tree fern (Cyathea cooperi)

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One of a myriad palm species I couldn’t identify

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Path along Onomea Bay

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Onomea Bay; not the best photo because the light was so harsh, but you get an idea of how beautiful this location is

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Bird’s nest anthurium (Anthurium salvinii)

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Fiji fan palm (Pritchardia pacifica), hands down my favorite palm in the world!

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Fiji fan palm (Pritchardia pacifica)

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Monkeypod tree canopy (Albizia saman)

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LEFT: Lipstick palm (Cyrtostachys renda)  RIGHT: Ho-hum, another lobster claw (Heliconia bihai)

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Hawaii tree fern (Cibotium splendens)

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Hawaii tree fern (Cibotium splendens). Magnificent down to the last detail!

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Chandelier tree (Medinilla cumingii)

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Pagoda plant (Clerodendrum paniculatum)

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× Miltassia orchid

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Neoregalia sp. on dead tree trunk

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Neoregelia carolinae 'Variegata'

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Tricolor money tree (Dracaena marginata ‘Tricolor’)

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White bat plant (Tacca integrifolia)

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White bat plant (Tacca integrifolia)

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Out of all the gardens I’ve visited in the Hawaiian islands (most of them on Maui), this one is my favorite, along with the Garden of Eden Arboretum on the Hāna Highway on Maui. The location is extraordinary, the variety of plants is enormous, and the garden is well cared for. All of these aspects make a visit a truly memorable experience.

Who knows if or when I’ll have a chance to go back, but in the meantime, I’ll have my photos to remind me of how special the HBTG is.

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I’ve only been to the tropics a few times so I’m anything but accustomed to the almost vulgar exuberance of color, texture and vigor flaunted by tropical plant life. In my own environment (California’s Sacramento Valley) I’m reasonable familiar with the plants that are native to the area as well as the kinds of plants gardeners typically grow. In a place like Hawaii—and especially a botanical garden in Hawaii—I feel like a babe in the woods: fairly intimidated, but also intensely curious and eager to learn.

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RELATED POSTS:

Hawaii 2014 trip index

7 comments:

  1. For a California girl, it all looks as alien as Mars. Actually more alien than Mars. Fabulous though--it must rain every week. Wonderful photos. I've seen that Fiji Fan palm at Rancho Soledad of all places--they have a humid green house full of plants like that, 95F with 95% humidity. Couldn't wait to get out of there...

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    1. I talked to a botanist who works there about rain and irrigation. He said they never go without rain for long--Hilo, which is just 8 miles away, gets 160 inches of rainfall a year. In case there's a "drought" (no rain for 2 or 3 weeks), they have an irrigation system fed by streams on the property. These are THIRSTY plants, and many of them simply wouldn't survive without constant water.

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  2. The flora of Hawaii is legendary. Even when living in the tropics there seems to be some reverence of some sort about the gardens and topography of the Hawaiian Islands. Your first photo has set off the post very nicely btw!

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    1. I'm glad I remembered to add a satellite image from Google Maps. It's great for showing the lay of the land.

      I so wish we could go back next year but it's not in the cards.

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  3. So beautiful...

    Not to ignore the subject of the post but I am curious. How do you stay on top of the changes in botanical nomenclature (Alcantarea imperialis / previously Vriesea imperialis)? Are you on some email list? (I kid, sort of). I am in awe...

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    1. Don't be in awe. I'm not some sort of botanical genius. I just do quite a bit of research when I write a post, especially one about a subject matter that's relative foreign to me. Wikipedia is great for botanical/taxonomical info.

      Having said that, I *do* enjoy research. I think I would have made a killer researcher if I'd decided to pursue that route, mainly because I'm so tenacious. I don't give up until I have the info I want :-).

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  4. Tropical plants are stunning...so much vigor, so much green...thanks for the tour...I don´t know...maybe some day I´ll go visit :)

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