Monday, February 15, 2010

Orange Hibiscus and African Tulip Tree

Orange Tropical Hibiscus
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
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Yesterday we had the “Queen of Flowering Trees” here and today the flower is known as the “Queen of the Tropics”. Hibiscus was growing on every island we visited but there seemed to be more types, colors and varieties on the Big Island. This one was really beautiful, both big and bold and refined at the same time. It was hard to ignore its color.

Tropical Hibiscus has naturalized through out the tropics and has been the target of breeding programs by horticulturalists for many years. They also seem to hybridize amongst themselves adding to the plethora of new cultivars. Sometimes I wish these breeding programs wouldn’t go overboard with the most garish colors and crinkly petals and each year there seems to be more and more outlandish ones. If that is what people like and get enjoyment from more power to them and perhaps I will like them more as time goes on.

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Yesterday there were three tropical trees featured here. This next tree was also blooming everywhere on the Big Island of Hawaii. It was growing in people’s yards, in the woods and along the roads. Sometimes you wouldn’t even know there was one around unless you saw the flower litter on the ground. We also saw a yellow flowered version of it in some gardens. They seemed reserved for cultivation as it wasn’t spotted in the wild.

African Tulip Tree
Spathodea campanulata
Synonyms: Fountain Tree, Firebell
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This tree is considered a pest in Hawaii because the wind dispersed seed spreads through abandoned agricultural land and forested areas. The seed readily germinates and the trees form thickets. It can also be a bit of a garden pest with the amount of flowers, twigs and seed pods it drops. It looked beautiful to me and in one gulch on Route 19 between Hilo and Honokaa the African Tulip had formed a massive colony whose sight I will remember for a long time.

It was difficult to get a picture of the flowers since they were borne so high in the air. Having a 70-200mm lens would have been good but all I had was the 105mm. This was shot looking almost straight up. There were a couple of times I would have loved to have a bucket truck to view the fowers.


Kathy said...

I've seen all kinds of orange and yellow hibiscus here in Arizona but never one that I would describe as almost caramel. Very pretty.

Kala said...

I too have not seen a hibiscus quite that color - gorgeous!

Digital Flower Pictures said...

The Big Island really seemed to have the nicest Hibiscus. This one was stunner. Thanks for commenting.