Saturday, January 17, 2015

Kauai 2014: Limahuli Garden (day 12 part 2)

Fair warning: this is going to be a ginormous post.

On one of my last days of vacation, I joined my parents, good friend Dan Boesz (who also served as our guide), and family friends Rachael and Stephanie for my first ever trip to Limahuli Garden. What an amazing place. So much to see, so much to learn about. I ended up taking more than 500 photos (eventually whittled down to a shade under 400 pics), and this post could have easily broken the century mark image-wise. If I can do even half as good a job taking you through as Dan did, I'll be very pleased. If I don't provide a link otherwise, just presume the information I'm sharing comes from the excellent self-guided tour book I picked up at the visitors center (much of what's in the tour book can be found here).

First up, the Canoe Garden, so named because it features plants brought by the Polynesians when they first settled in the Hawaiian Islands, estimated to be between 200-1000 A.D.; they carried with them in their canoes the plants they'd need to survive. The terraces seen in this first image are the archaeological remnants of what's believed to be one of the earliest settlements in Hawaii:

Taro plants. Brought by those first settlers, it's now pretty much the food most associated with Hawaii. 

The Ti plant. The waxy leaves were used for everything from storing food, to clothes, to thatching houses:

Uala, aka the sweet potato plant. 

A banana tree:

Cool spider web that caught my eye:

Ko, aka sugar cane:

Some ferns I thought made for a nice image:

Kukui, aka the candlenut tree:

A closer look at a kukui blossom:

Moving into the Plantation Era Garden, which features plants introduced to Hawaii within the last 200 years. These are also the plants most of us associate with Hawaii, including some gorgeous tropical flowers:


 I'm pretty sure this is an octopus tree

Definitely the blossom of an octopus tree:

As the sign says, red ginger:

Loved the way the roots of a tree have grown over this boulder:

Just a couple of scenes that caught my eye:

Some looks at Limahuli Stream:

Moving into the Native Forest Walk. This area is a recent addition, recreating a Hawaiian forest to provide "an opportunity to experience the look and feel of a forest that is made up entirely of native species." It features plants that have less than 50 individuals in the wild, plants with less than 10 in the wild, and a few that are extinct in the wild and only exist in cultivation.  Starting things off, some examples of Hala trees:

A few more that I took just for the pretty of it all:

More Hala roots:

No memory of what this is, but I liked the visual:

A couple of photos of the Loulu, which is endemic to Limahuli valley:

More pretties:

As you can see in the image, an example of Delissea rhytidosperma, an extremely rare plants that's extinct in the wild:

A look at Makana Mountain. Makana was, and still is, the location of the Oahi fire throwing ceremony.

More pretties:

For the life of me I can't remember what this tree was, but I loved the way the trunk looks:

The Whale Trail, where you can (and we did) spot humpback whales showing off:

Our most excellent tour guide, Dan:

The smaller rock just about halfway in on the right is associated with the legend of Nou. Since Dan isn't here to tell the story, rather than rewrite it for you, I very much encourage you to read all about it.

Often described as a baseball bat with a cabbage on top, the Alula has quite the story behind it. I'll just crib from this article to share it:

A documentary called "Strangers in Paradise" showed NTBG botanists rappelling down the Na Pali Cliffs, checking the rare alula plant, which is found growing in the wild only on Kauai's cliffs.

For two decades, they have pollinated and collected seeds of the plant, which looks like a cabbage on a stick.

Today Limahuli and NTBG have more alula than there is growing in the wild.

That small rock on the left side of the ridge is associated with another legend, that of Pohaku-o-Kane:

A few more looks at the Makana Mountain ridge:

A look at another Hawaiian native, the Lehua:

Another beauty shot:

Looking back down at the terraces:

Low-hanging clouds by Makana:

More pretties:

More looks down at the terraces:

And some closer looks at the hale, a traditional Hawaiian house that was reconstructed in the footprint of an ancient housing complex. You can read about the building of this hale here:

Looking back toward the ocean:

Another few photos of the taro plants:

One last look back:

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