Sunday, April 15, 2012

Kiawe Trees Are Blooming

Kiawe blossoms in bloom. It's spring.

Updated 6/19/12  - they're still blooming steadily.

In Kihei and other dry areas of the island, the kiawe trees are blooming. I don't know how to describe their flowers, botanically speaking, but they look like fluffy cat tails or slender pipe cleaners, with fuzzy flowers along a long column. 

By the way, kiawe (pronounced kee - ah - vay) are incredibly thorny trees related to mesquite. They make nice charcoal and are a hard wood that termites dislike - because the wood is too hard to chew. Kiawe pods are used for cattle fodder, and I've been wondering about grinding them into flour, like mesquite flour, or other edible uses of kiawe

Kiawe trees - watch out for thorns!

I finally found out who brought these thorny trees to Hawaii to make the Hawaiians wear clothes and shoes! 
The Outdoor Circle, in their book, Majesty II: The Exceptional Trees of Hawaii, gives credit to Father Bachelot of the former Roman Catholic Misson on Fort St. in Honolulu. He carefully brought the seeds from the Royal Gardens in Paris and first planted them in 1828. The trees originate from PeruEcuador and Colombia. Ah, now I know which missionary to blame!

Close up of a kiawe flower.


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