Photo Essay: Flowers of Kauai
The Garden Island of Kauai is the most remote and oldest of all the Hawaiian Islands. With its rich red soil and rainfall from one of the wettest places on earth atop Mt. Waialeale, Kauai grows some of the most beautiful tropical flowers from ginger to hibiscus to plumeria and so much more. As soon as you step off the plane, you see the tropical flowers of Kauai and one of the reasons why Kauai is nicknamed the Garden Island.
Flower of the Monkeypod Tree
The monkeypod tree grows pink flowers that resemble powder puffs. These flowers are pollinated by insects and develop edible seed pods about 4 to 8 inches long. Some believe the monkeypod tree got its name from the monkeys that congregate on its branches to eat those seed pods.
Considered one of the world’s most beautiful flowering vines, Bougainvillea comes in a range on colors. Loving the warmth and sun, Bougainvillea grows all over Kauai. The colorful “petals” are actually leaves that surround the tiny white flower of the Bougainvillea.
A member of the coffee family, Ixora is favored by gardeners in Hawaii for its continuous floral display. The name Ixora comes from the Hindu deity Ishvara, also known as Shiva. In India Ixora is used as an offering at temples and in ceremonies.
A member of the daisy family, Ko‘oko‘olau can only be found on Kauai. Found mostly in wet forests around Kauai’s north shore valleys and central summits. A Hawaiian native, Ko‘oko‘olau is being threatened by both the wild pigs and goats of Kauai, invasive plants brought to the island, and erosion.
Which of the flowers of Kauai is your favorite?
All photography by Kimmy Hayes © 2014.