HAWAII · PLANTS
A blossoming paradise
Due to the isolated position of the archipelago more than 1600 kinds of plants have been able to develop here which dont exist elsewhere.
Some years ago trees belonging to an enigmatic species were discovered in the valley of Waimea Canyon. They were given the name of Hibiscadelphus giffardianus. They have got delicate branches on which candle like red blossoms grow. Among the endemic plants on the islands there is one that only exists in the crater of the Haleakala on Maui - it consist of a bunch of silvery green stalks out of which a six feet long inflorescence grows once in 15 years. When this starts to wither the plant dies.
The bright red Ohia-Lehua blossom and the hibiscus already grew on the islands, when Captain Cook set foot on them for the first time. Most kinds of orchids, however, which are an essential ingredient of the Leis, the Hawaiian floral necklaces, which you get around your neck as a sign of welcome, have been bred by Europeans in Hawaii - with great success as you can see in the huge fields of orchids near the town of Hilo on Big Island.
The white people also introduced wild roses and bramble bushes which grow to considerable height in this moist and warm climate and which stifle the indigenous plants.