HAWAII NATURE NOTES
SHEEP SORREL, Rumex acetosella L., an abundant, well-known, introduced weed found both inside the crater and out. A native species called PAWALE, Rumex gigantius Ait., is more interesting. It grows as a stocky undershrub on barren lava flows and in rock crevices inside the crater. In Koolau Gap, it becomes a sprawling vine. It is said that a mixture of an extraction from the boiled bark and AWA was used by Hawaiians for skin diseases. This was tried in vain as a cure for leprosy when the disease first appeared in the islands in 1840.
HAWAIIAN BUTTERCUP, MAKOU, Ranunculus hawaiiensis A. Gray. Like the native violets and geraniums, members of this genus, well-known on the mainland, either become bushy or spread as a woody vine in Hawaii. Two native species occur on Haleakala, but the yellow-flowered, sprawling R. mauiensis A. Gray is reported only outside the park. The larger flowered, erect Hawaiian buttercup, however, was reported by J. F. Rock to be abundant formerly in Puu Nianiau Crater. It is a coarse, hollow-stemmed, hairy herb with compound leaves divided into three sharply-toothed, irregular leaflets. Within Haleakala Crater it grows on moist, grassy slopes in Koolau Gap.
HO'AWA, Pittosporum confertiflorum A. Gray. A small tree, sometimes becoming 25 feet tall. The large leaves, shiny green on top, brown hairy underneath, are crowded like whorls on the ends of the branches. In the centers of these, dense clusters of fleshy, cream-colored flowers appear in late summer. Wrinkled fruits, resembling English walnuts, hang on the trees throughout the year. Very few trees grow in the crater, but they are more numerous above 4,000 feet along the Kaupo Trail and at Ulupalakua. The genus of some 200 species is widespread; it has many species native to Hawaii. Some kinds are well-known garden plants. Pittosporum tobira (Thunb.) Ait., a native of China and Japan, is a favorite shrub in California.
HAWAIIAN HAWTHORN, 'ULEI, Osteomeles anthyllidifolia Smith (Lindl). A spreading shrub with compound leaves and fragrant, small, white flowers, like apple blossoms, that may appear throughout the year. The fruit is white and contains five stony seeds. Plants growing on ash flats are very small. The strong but pliable wood of ulei was used for digging sticks, fish spears, and hoops to keep the mouths of fishing nets open.
HAWAIIAN RASPBERRY, 'AKALA, Rubus hawaiiensis A. Gray. Fig. 5. A shrub with attractive pink flowers abundant at Paliku. It is found also in Koolau Gap at the foot of Leleiwi Pali and elsewhere. The fruit, agreeable but somewhat bitter, is remarkable for its large size. It ripens about the Fourth of July or later. A trailing native, R. macraei A. Gray, sprawls in foggy Koolau Gap. Its large, dark fruits are bitter,
MAMANE, Sophora chrysophylla Salisb. Fig. 4. A common native shrub or small tree of the Bean Family both inside and outside the crater up to tree line. It is recognized by more or less downy, narrow, compound leaves, racemes of yellow flowers, and twisted pods that have four wings and are constricted between the seeds. Goats eat it greedily and quickly exterminate it in an area. The hard, durable wood was used by Hawaiians in many ways; today it is a principal firewood for the crater cabins. A tree in full bloom is a beautiful object. The height of the flowering season is mid-spring.
GERANIUM, NOHOANU, HINAHINA. Fig. 6, 7. Neurophyllodes tridens (Hillebr.) Degener & Greenwell is common above the park entrance and on the south wall within the crater. It sometimes be comes three feet tall and is readily identified by its silvery leaves, each of which has three small teeth on the end. The white flowers have purplish veins especially toward their centers. The blooming season is July to October. The silvery aspect of the plant, like the silversword, is imparted by a mesh of fine white hair that reflects the light of a passing car as effectively as the glass-beaded paint of directional signs.
Two native geranium relatives grow in Koolau Gap, N. ovatifolium (A. Gray) Degener & Greenwell and its variety superbum. The latter is common on the trail to Waikau not far from the foot of Leleiwi Pali,
One of the common plants growing on the crater floor is the exotic pink-flowered G. carolinianum var. australi (Benth.) Fosberg whose jointed fruiting bodies give it the common name, cranesbill.
HAWAIIAN HOLLY, KAWA'U, Ilex anomala Hook and Arn. The forest growing on the talus behind the Paliku cabins is the finest within the crater. A striking tree of this association is the Hawaiian holly that has dark, shiny, oval leaves with conspicuous networks of slightly depressed veins that make identification easy. Dense panicles of small, white flowers are followed by shiny, black drupes, like Christmas holly "berries." The genus is that of the English holly. Curiously, the scientific name has been locally corrupted to ileck.
OLOMEA, Perrottetia sandwicensis A. Gray. A native shrub or small tree belonging to the same family as the bittersweet of the continent. The numerous tiny, round, red fruits, borne in panicles, suggest the relationship. The bright red venation of leaves and petioles make the plant easily recognized. I know of no plants within the park, but found many trees a thousand feet below the park boundary in Keanae Valley.
A'AL'II, Dodonaea eriocarpa Smith. Fig. 8. This is a common shrub in several varieties along the highway and in the western end of the crater. At Paliku and Kaupo Gap it becomes a tree up to 20 feet high and 8 inches in diameter. Its flowers are inconspicuous but clusters of dry, reddish fruit-capsules contrast, flower-like, with the surrounding green foliage. The fruits, abundant from July to September, are used for leis and dry bouquets. The hard brown heartwood was used for spears, pololu, daggers, pahoa, and other implements.
BEGONIAPUAMAKANUI, Hillebrandia sandwicensis Oliv. The only native begonia, found in wet ravines often by waterfalls. It grows profusely at Koolau a mile below Holua Cabin at the foot of the rain-drenched pali. This succulent herb has a tuberous rhizome, unbranched, slender stems, and hairy, toothed leaves 4-10 inches in diameter. From June to August it bears sprays of bright, pink and white flowers. This is one of the floral treasures of Hawaii.
TARWEED. Cuphea carthagenensis (Jacq.) McBride. A low, sticky, hairy perennial from tropical America widely spread at lower elevations in the park. It has red or green branches, small ovate leaves, and tiny but not unattractive pink flowers 1/4 inch across. Plants in rock crevices on cliffs are tiny; on the crater floor, they may become a foot high and form a dense shrubby mat over a sizeable area. The plant belongs to the LYTHRACEAE or Crepe Myrtle Family.
'OHI'A LEHUA, Metrosideros collina (Forst.) A. Gray. Fig. 9. This, the commonest tree in the islands, consists of a swarm of hybrids of which the parentage is still unknown. It is scattered within the park to tree line. It is abundant in the eastern end of the crater and at Paliku. The beautiful flowers, mostly red, a few yellow, may appear throughout the year. Here spring seems to be the best season for them.
EVENING PRIMROSE, Raimannia odorata (Jacq.) Sprague & Riley. A slender, erect, hairy South American herb introduced forty years ago. It is a prolific bloomer, is widespread, and, in blooming season, the most conspicuous flower both at Park Headquarters and within the crater. The large, sulphur-yellow flowers appear at night, but wilt within the following day, turning reddish as they do so.
'APE'APEGunnera petaloidea Gaud. A huge-leaved forest perennial with a massive prostrate stem which stands erect 3 or 4 feet at the tip. In the center of the leaves a tall stalk rises that bears hundreds of small yellow-brown flowers. I know of no plants within the crater, but some grow within a mile of the park boundary below Koolau Gap, as well as in adjacent wet valleys.
OLAPA, Cheirodendron trigynum (Gaud.) Heller. Fig. 10. This tree occurs in several varieties. The variety oblongum Sherif grows 30 feet tall around the cabins at Paliku, also at Ulupalakua. The variety mauiense Levl. common at Olinda, also grows in Kaupo Gap. The genus is Hawaiian but has a lone representative in the Marquesas. It is widespread in deep soils in all of the islands. The leaves are compound with 3 or 5 leaflets which, at Paliku, have reddish petioles. The panicles of small, green flowers are followed by black drupes. The leaves, bark, and fruit are said to have yielded a blue dye for staining tapa.
'OHELO, Vaccinium reticulatum Smith, Fig. 11. Hikers in the crater are grateful for the widespread ohelo bushes that yield pleasant fruits to be nibbled along the way. In areas rich in moisture, like Koolau Gap, large, maroon bell-shaped flowers droop from the axels of the leaves. The berries found in the eastern end of the crater appear to be largest. The bearing season appears at its height in mid-autumn. The plants along the Halemauu Trail constitute a distinct species, V. berberidifolium Skottsb.
PUKIAWE, Styphelia tameiameiae (Chain.) F. Muell. Fig. 12. A most abundant shrub, both inside and outside the crater, but near the top it is replaced by a trailing shrub that has been classified as S. douglasii (A. Gray) Hochr. The berries of this plant are white, pink, red, or mahogany brown; they are most abundant in winter, but some may be seen on the shrub throughout the year.
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