Recently I had to do a landscape estimate at Hawaii Loa Ridge and figured that since I was in the area I’d take a quick stroll up the ridge trail and see what was happening…and by “happening” i mean whats blooming and whats not. The only problem was that I only had about an hour to kill before my next appointment (hitting that North wrap swell at Kaupo) so I only made it up a little ways before heading back down but on the way I saw some pretty common, yet beautiful sites: The first thing that I was amazed at was how the ‘ūlei (Osteomeles anthylidifolia) was both in bloom and fruiting at the same time!
Next on the trail was a mass emergence of what I’m pretty sure is the deadliest mushroom in Hawaii Amanita marmorata.
These mushrooms were introduced with the introduction of Eucalyptus trees which they are usually associated with but are also found within ironwood tree (Casuarina spp.) groves like on this hike where they were abundant in the very first patch of ironwoods you come across. they look very similar to another edible species Volvariella volvacea commonly known as the Paddy Straw mushroom but instead of having a feeling of deliciousness…..you’ll die.
Further up is one of my most favorite plants in the Ko’olau mountain range…this Hō’awa.
Initially described as Pittosporum halophilum, a type of hō’awa native to Molokai, this plant had later been lumped under the widespread species P. confertiflorum but is now recognized as P. cauliflorum. Regardless of what it is recognized at this plant rocks and its the nicest specimen I’ve seen.
Scattered throughout the lower reaches of this hike were numerous clumps of pūkiawe (Leptecophylla tameiameiae)
…..lower elevation shrub forms of ‘Ōhi’a lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha),
…..a few species and natural hybrids of ko’oko’olau (probably Bidens asymetrica and B. sandwicense ).
Along the way there were a bunch of nice ‘Akoko (Euphorbia multiformis) which I’m bummed that my photos didnt come out clear…. some ‘alahe’e (Psydrax odorata) and a few nice lama (Diospyros sandwicense) a native member of the persimmon family.
Also present was this very unique form of ‘uki’uki (Dianella multipedicellata) that grows prolifically, has numerous flowers yet no obvious fruit…hmmm.
Lastly, before i had to prematurely turn around, I made it to another one of my faves (If you haven’t caught the hint, many native plants are my faves!) this spectacular ‘Āla’a (Pouteria sandwicensis var. spathulata.)
This particular variety is much more common on other islands like Hawaii and Lāna’i vs. O’ahu. Typically O’ahu is more known for the variety sandwicensis which is not nearly as vibrant as this form and has larger leaves and fruits…both are great in their own right but the color contrast on this form is unreal….here is the upper leaf surface and liko of the plant and this is the underside of the same leaves…
…..wow right?!? Stay tuned for more adventures of Rick and his iPhone strolls as soon as I get more time to stroll.