trailbum (@trailbum) — Volcano worship, house cats, and trail workers mostly.
Plants I like on Hawai’i Island- Installment 3- The mighty Koa, Acacia koa. Another member of the pea family and also a Hawaiian Islands endemic. Koa has two very different leaf structures. Initially young trees have bipinnately compound leaves with 12–24 pairs of leaflets, like other members of the pea family. At about 6–9 months of age, however, thick sickle-shaped "leaves" that are not compound begin to grow. These are actually fatty phyllodes, blades that develop as an expansion of the leaf petiole. The vertically flattened orientation of the phyllodes allows sunlight to pass to lower levels of the tree. Koa grows at elevations of 330–7,550 ft. It’s ability to fix nitrogen allows it to grow in very young volcanic soils. It is one of the fastest growing Hawaiian trees, capable of reaching 20–30 ft in five years on a good site. Koa is the most expensive commercially sought after wood on Earth and an excellent tonewood, often used in the construction of ukuleles, acoustic guitars, and Weissenborn-style Hawaiian steel guitars. Fender made limited edition koa wood models of the Telecaster and the Stratocaster in 2006. Trey Anastasio primarily uses a koa hollowbody Languedoc guitar. Commercial silviculture of koa takes 20 to 25 years before a tree is of useful size. The koa population has suffered from grazing and logging. Many wet forest areas, where the largest koa grow have been logged out, and now koa wood is gleaned from dead or dying trees on private lands. Although formerly used for outrigger canoes, there are few koa remaining which are both large and straight enough to do so today. In areas where cattle are present, koa regeneration is almost completely suppressed. However if the cattle are removed koa are among the few native Hawaiian plants able to germinate in grassland, and can be a key species in restoring native forest. Its name in the Hawaiian language, koa, also means brave, bold, fearless, or warrior.
Plants I like on Hawai’i Island —installment 2 : Māmane, Sophora chrysophylla, a member of the pea family Fabaceae. It’s endemic to the Hawaiian Islands and is highly polymorphic, growing as a shrub or tree, and able to reach a height of 49 feet in tree form. It grows in a wide variety of habitats on most of the Islands but grows the largest in dry montane forests. It can grow at elevations of 98–9,514 ft, being limited by the tree line. Dazzling yellow flowers are produced in winter and spring, a buzz with bees and also essential for the endangered palila (Loxioides bailleui) honey creeper , which feeds almost exclusively on the plant’s immature seeds when they are in season. It also nests within the branches of māmane. Caterpillars of Cydia moths also eat the māmane's seeds, and in turn get eaten by the palila. Both the bird and the larvae utilize the inner seed embryo only, leaving the seed coat untouched. To other animals, māmane seeds are highly poisonous. House finches die within minutes after eating the seeds. The māmane employs a two-layered biochemical defense system: The seed coats contain some 4% phenolic compounds, which give them a vile taste. But just look at those gorgeous flowers, several clusters of māmane trees have been putting on a good show this week here in Kīlauea’s forest.
Plants I like on Hawai’i Island installment 1—- ‘a’ali’i , Hawaiian hopseed , Dodonaea viscosa, soapberry family. It’s common here in Hawai’i and the specie also grows in Southern Arizona and Mexico, I thought it looked familiar. It has a cosmopolitan distribution in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions of Africa, the Americas, southern Asia and Australasia. The seed heads are persistent, deep red and beautiful. The Hawaiian word ali‘i refers to a reigning noble and when an “a” is added it means of the royalty. The name ‘a‘ali‘i was given to this shrub who sometimes makes it to small tree status because it was considered sacred to Laka, the hula goddess. The wood is hard and useful for many things. From Wikipedia: LAKA, goddess of forest growth. Laka is the goddess of Hula. Laka is said to be the inspiration a person thinks of while they dance. She is what causes the movement while the dancer is moved. She is also the goddess of the forest. She has reproductive energy which is said to help the forest grow and thrive. Laka is associated with the Lama tree, the Maile Vine, and the a’ali’i plant. They are her kinolau, which means they are the form she can be found in. These are very cherished and treated with high levels of respect.
Yes, snow in Hawai’i. I walked up Mauna Kea (13,796ft.) today from the lower visitor center parking area. Too many cars and telescopes at the top for a beautiful, unique and sacred volcano. I feel it’s unfortunate that only a few take the long trail walk with heads bowed, most drive. A`ole TMT! #restoremaunakea#aoletmt
The Moku’āweoweo Caldera from the summit of Mauna Loa 13,679 feet yesterday. The Earth’s most massive volcano. 36 miles round trip when hiked from the lower trail head at Mauna Loa Lookout ,6662 feet. The hiking is mostly on challenging lava flow terrain that requires care and attention with every step. I can barely walk this morning and the sharp lava took a chunk out of my hand in a late night headlight hiking fall. My blood collected into the tiny sharp bubble pockets within the lava, in the misty Hawaiian night on the slopes of the Mauna.