|King Protea buds|
The Kula Botanical Garden is in the part of Maui called Upcountry. It is conveniently located just far enough down the hill from the top of Haleakala Volcano to be warm and out of the wind.
While Mr. Glad dozed on a bench I wandered the paths with my tiny notebook and scribbled the names from whatever markers I could find, of strange plants from all over the world. Gradually I thawed out from the high-elevation freezer experience, and breathed the oxygen-rich air of the thick plantings.
This west side of the volcano is relatively dry, as the rain that blows in from the east stops at the volcano and falls on the other side. This makes the Upcountry an agreeable climate for species from South Africa and Australia, such as the proteas and their relatives the banksias.
This Orange Banksia (at right), banksia prionotes, was white and not orange when I took this picture, because the florets on its spike had not fully opened, but I found a close-up on Wikipedia showing the collection of little flowers, called an inflorescence, with not quite all of them opened.
Some of the plants in the garden were unmarked, and will have to remain anonymous for now, like this red one. It would have taken me many more hours or days than we had allotted to thoroughly investigate the wealth of God’s creation represented here.
The Paperbark Tree, Melaleuca quinquenervia, is also a native of the Southern Hemisphere, but it has naturalized and can be found all over Hawaii. (In Florida, I read, it is now considered a serious weed.) I found out that there are several types of paperbarks, but they are also called simply melaleucas. Also of this species are the tea trees, from which the tea tree oil that some of us use medicinally is extracted.
The proteas were many and varied, and what wild and dramatic plants these are! The one above is Catherine’s Pinwheel.
And the trees — my goodness, I was surprised at all the trees on Maui. Did I think that they only grew coconut palms here? This closeup of an Australian tree trunk in the botanical garden was one of the few more intimate looks I got of a tree, because other than at this place we didn’t spend too much time looking at plants.
Still, I will have more to say about trees and flowers in another post about this fascinating Mauian world.