Did You Know…?

Ipomoea

The largest genus of the morning-glory family, Ipomoea includes five hundred species spread throughout the tropics of the world. In Hawai’i fourteen species are native or naturalized, and five more can be found testing the fences of people’s gardens. Prior to 1871, Chinese immigrants brought the edible morning glory Ipomoea Aquatica, known to Asian cooking as the ung-choi, and it has naturalized around Hawaiian streams and ponds.

The beach morning glory, Ipomoea Pes­Caprae, is an indigenous shoreline plant that has found success throughout the Pacific. Its woody stems and sturdy leaves seem out of character for a morning glory, but the flower gives it away.

The sweet potato, Ipomoea Batatas, was a staple of the ancient Hawaiian diet. Their ancestors recognized 230 kinds of ‘Uala. Besides eating their tubers, they used various parts of the plant to brew a sweet beer, to stimulate mothers’ milk, to pad their floor mats, and to fatten their hogs. The fact that sweet potato originates in America suggests a history of early inter-Pacific human contact about which we know nothing.

Experience all the beauty of Hawai’i at Botanical World… 

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31-240 Old Mamalahoa Highway                    Open daily – 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM

Hakalau, Hawaii 96710                                    Have you Visited us in the Past?

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Did You Know…?

Argyroxiphium

Eons ago a daisy-like plant from North America found its way to the Hawaiian Islands and evolved into this botanical marvel. Growing in the extreme high-altitude volcanic cinder deserts of Maui’s Haleakala and Hawai’i Island’s Mauna Kea, the silversword forms a moon-like sphere with its numerous scimitar-shaped succulent leaves. The plant’s heat-reflective fur of white hairs keeps the leaves from parching to death. At life’s end the plant performs its one act of blooming-at the average age of twelve and sometime between June and November-by shooting up a flower spike that can be six feet tall and contain six hundred resinous purple flowers. Then, having set seed, the plant shrivels and blows apart in the alpine winds.

Silverswords formerly blanketed many acres of Haleakala Crater. But by the early twentieth century the attacks of newly arrived insects, goats, and human collectors had shaved the population down to fewer than a hundred plants. Thanks to national park controls, this species is recovering but still endangered.

“Argyroxiphium” might look impossible to pronounce, but the job gets easier when you split the word into it two Greek roots. “Argyro” means silver. “Xiphium” means sword (pronounce the “x” as a “z.”)

Actually there are five species of this Hawai’i only genus. The others are rare, remote bog plants, one of which is now probably extinct.

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31-240 Old Mamalahoa Highway                    Open daily – 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM

Hakalau, Hawaii 96710                                    Have you Visited us in the Past?

Mile Marker 16 on Highway 19                       Why not Write a review?

 

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Did You Know…?

 Colocasia Esculenta

Taro is the mother plant of Hawaiian culture – not just the “daily bread” of nourishment but also the abiding symbol of social harmony. The plant is cultivated throughout the Pacific and Southeast Asia, but nowhere with the industry and ingenuity of the ancient Hawaiians.

Taro is a marsh plant, so the Hawaiians excelled in the construction of waterworks and clever flowing ponds (called lo’i) in which the farmers waded. They developed three hundred varieties of taro, some adapted to dry land conditions. Their folklore describes taro as the older sibling of the human race, and people saw the growth habit of taro-in expanding clusters of offshoots called ‘oha-as a perfect metaphor for a well-run family, or ‘ohana.

All parts of the plant are eaten, from the starchy corm (root) to the spinach-like leaves. Uncooked, the plant is acrid because its flesh is full of sharp crystals of calcium oxalate. Cooking eliminates their bite. Once cooked, the corm is generally pounded to make poi, an excellent carbohydrate food. The cooked greens, called lu’au, are a nutritious source of minerals and vitamins A, B and C.

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31-240 Old Mamalahoa Highway                    Open daily – 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM

Hakalau, Hawaii 96710                                    Have you Visited us in the Past?

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Did You Know…?


Alocasia Macrorrhiza (‘ape)

Don’t say ”’ape,” as though this is a monkey. “Awe pay” is right. In fact, “awe pay” feels like the right thing to say when you encounter a fleshy leaf more than three feet long on a waist-high stem. To grow leaves this big, ‘ape needs its favored habitat-a deep, moist gulch where the wind hardly stirs. Polynesians brought ‘ape, a native of India and Sri Lanka, wherever they traveled. This plant’s log-like, ground-hugging stem, whenever baked, ensured survival when better-tasting foods ran short.

The philodendron family, with its arrowhead-shaped leaves, its spike-in-a-cup flowers, and its water-loving habit, has been wildly successful in the tropics-l07 genera and about three thousand species. It includes anthodium, calla, spathiphyllum, caladium, monstera, philodendron, dieffenbachia, and (most important of all for Hawai’i) taro.

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31-240 Old Mamalahoa Highway                    Open daily – 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM

Hakalau, Hawaii 96710                                    Have you Visited us in the Past?

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Did You Know…?


Alyxia Oilviformis 

Back then and right now, the people of Hawai’i felt and feel a special love for the fragrant bark and leaves of this wild forest climber. Pulled into long streamers and twined together, strips of maile make a scarf-like lei that is traditionally worn by any person experiencing a grand moment. This plant embodies Laka, the goddess of the hula.  

Maile (pronounced “my lay”) is partly vine, partly shrub. Because it assumes a variety of forms and leaf-shapes, the old Hawaiians gave it several names, and modern botanists have tried far more. Current wisdom, though, gives maile one name as a species – Alyxia Oilviformis (the leaf is some­what Olive-leaf-like in form)-and admits that the plant comes in many shapes. The genus Alyxia includes about 120 species that occur throughout the Pacific rim, but maile itself is endemic to Hawai’i. Regardless of its leaf shape, its spicy vanilla fragrance (which intensifies as the leaves wilt) conveys the same honor.  

The botanical family that includes maile has a knack for showy flowers, such as: oleander, yellow oleander, allarnanda, periwinkle, and mandevilla. The same family also includes one of Hawai’i’s most familiar trees, the plumeria.

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Alpinia Vittata

Striped Narrow Leaf Ginger is a species of flowering plants in the ginger family, native to a region from the Bismarck Archipelago in the Solomon Islands. They are evergreen rhizomatous soft-wooded perennial cultivated as ornamental plants. Striped Narrow Leaf Ginger are plants of forest understory habitat in hot and moist climate all year round.

The tall shoots of green and white striped foliage make this an attractive plant, but the sun-scorch on many of the leaves indicates that this plant should best be grown under partially shaded conditions. The terminal inflorescence is a pink-red color and is not especially showy, compared with other species of Alpinia.

This plant is among the most attractive and commonly grown species of this genus and is cultivated mainly for its beautiful and striking foliage.

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31-240 Old Mamalahoa Highway                    Open daily – 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM

Hakalau, Hawaii 96710                                    Have you Visited us in the Past?

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Did You Know…?

Guzmania lingulata.

The colorful, vase-like plants growing in the soil and climbing up several of the palm trees nearby are part of our Garden Bromeliad Patch. Along the Rainbow Walk we have more than a dozen kinds of bromeliads growing together. There are over 3,000 species included in the bromeliad family, and many hundreds of varieties are grown as ornamental plants. With so many to choose from, we just do not have room for many more, although elsewhere in the Garden we have other different species growing. Some are usually in bloom and some display variously colored leaves, or both.

Bromeliads and pineapples are related, being in the same plant family–Bromeliaceae. Many Bromeliads are epiphytic—that is, they grow in or on trees or other plants—and many of them catch water in their central leaf whorl. In tropical rainforests, these tiny ponds nurture many kinds of organisms (e.g., algae, various insects, tree frogs) in a unique ecosystem, many feet above the forest floor.

Many different kinds of Bromeliads are sold in the nursery trade as beautiful flowering plants and/or strikingly colorful foliage plants that remain attractive for quite a long time before the inflorescence fades and the leaves of the mother plant wither. A few of the different species most note-worthy along the Rainbow Walk are: Guzmania lingulata, with its 12-18 inch tall yellow or red-orange inflorescence; Aechmea blanchetiana, with its long, wide coppery-bronze foliage and 6 foot tall red-yellow-orange inflorescence; and the numerous plants of Neoregelia caroliniae, with its pink center surrounded by glossy green leaves, that seems to be equally at home climbing a palm tree or growing in the soil.

Experience all the beauty of Hawai’i at Botanical World… 

Botanical World Adventures                          Gardens, Waterfalls & Maze

31-240 Old Mamalahoa Highway                    Open daily – 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM

Hakalau, Hawaii 96710                                    Have you Visited us in the Past?

Mile Marker 16 on Highway 19                       Why not Write a review?

 

For 24/7 Online Reservations Book your tour HERE

Or call: 808-963-5427 or Toll Free: 888-947-4753

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