Friday, July 13, 2012

Monkeypod Trees

Wispy Wailea trees - possibly monkeypod trees, with a pinkish tinge to the flowers (although hard to see in this photo). 

Wailea has these delicate, airy trees along Makena Road, fronting the hotels and condos and golf courses. I had always wondered what these slender trees were along the manicured resort road. They seemed so dainty, like they might faint under a strong wind. They just started blooming and have pink feathery flowers, and my first thought was they were Albizia trees, which are kind of fast growing and invasive.  But further research suggests they are monkeypod trees, which are normally rather large and umbrella shaped, but in Wailea, they have been clipped and manicured just like pedigreed French poodles. They're pretty but tougher than they look. In A Pocket Guide to Hawaii's Trees and Shrubs, the author says that most people mistake monkeypod and albizia trees, but monkeypod flowers are pink and albizia flowers are white. 

Monkeypod flowers close up. This tree is in Makena.

Cardinal in a monkeypod tree in Makena. 

I've also been trying to identify the trees that grow along Hana Highway, and along the sugar cane back roads. I think some of them are monkeypod trees, because there is the barest hint of pink on the upper branches, especially some of the trees by Kaunoa Senior Center. But other trees, gnarled and bent by decades of ferocious Maui winds, may actually be Elephant's Earpod used as a windbreak I suppose. I've never looked at them close up, just in passing, a blur on the highway.  They make me think of African savannas and Meryl Streep in a Hollywood kind of way.  

Elephant's Earpod Trees? Growing along the Hana Highway, en route from Kahului to Paia, along the sugar cane side roads. 


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