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Maui: Kula Botanical Garden, Part 3

Concluding our tour of the Kula Botanical Gardens in the mild Upcountry area of Maui, we find another Bromeliad — this one quite colorful. You may recall a few issues ago, I shared a photo of a different kind of Bromeliad and mentioned that the pineapple is a Bromeliad. This specimen shows such a similarity to a pineapple that you would make that conclusion without being a botanist.

I call this the "Unknown" plant. There was no placard showing the variety but it was in an area of orchids. Perhaps, it is an orchid since they come in such a huge variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Hopefully, one of my readers will be able to help me out here.

Ah, this one I know. In fact, this may be one of the first plants for which I learned its name — a Hydrangea. When I was growing up in Baltimore, we had them growing on either size of the steps leading up to our front porch.

One of the curiosities of certain varieties of Hydrangea is that the color of the flowers is determined by the pH of the soil — one might call it Mother's Nature's litmus paper.

Normally, one does not expect to see animals in a botanical garden but this one has a pair of Nenes — a father and son.

The Nene is the Hawai`ian Goose and is the official state bird of Hawai`i. This pair entered the garden after a storm and decided to stay. The garden obtained permission from the state to keep them here — and it appears that their wings have been clipped to prevent their departure.

Nenes have evolved from the Canada Goose. One can only speculate on how they originally traveled to Hawai`i — a distance of 2,680 miles from Canada. Perhaps a storm blew them off-course — who knows?

At the time of Captain James Cook's accidental landing in the Hawai`ian Islands, it is thought that there were some 25,000 Nenes on the islands. Unfortunately, hunting and introduced predators reduced the numbers until there were only approximately 30 birds left by 1952. Breeding programs have brought them back from the brink of extinction although concerns remain about the lack of genetic diversity because of that small population when those breeding efforts began.

After visiting the Nenes, we find another fine collection of Protea. I was especially entranced by this specimen which I presume is a type of Pincushion Protea.

Raspberry Frost Protea.

Banksia Protea.

Banksia "Coccinea" Protea.

King Protea.

Another King Protea.

I hope you have enjoyed this visit to the Kula Botanical Gardens. Perhaps you will be able to visit on your next trip to Maui — and enjoy these visual delights in person.


Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com