I have pictures of the native dogbanes (Apocynaceae) that I’d like to share. Most people are familiar with at least one member of the family, albeit non-native: The different Plumerias. Fortunately, they don’t seem to escape from cultivation easily.
The native Apocynaceae are not a monophyletic group; there were several independent colonization events. The are native plants in the genera of Alyxia, Rauvolfia, Ochrosia as well as an endemic genus of Pteralyxia.
Maile (Alyxia oliviformes) typically grows as a woody climbing vine or sometimes an upright bush. It is still a very common member of native plant communities.
Here are the flowers for Hao (Rauvolfia sandwicensis). As far as I can recall, the most conspicuous Hao I’ve seen in the wild was the one right off the Kaunala trail. I mentioned before that without flowers present, it can be tricky to distinguish between Hao and Holei (Ochrosia spp.). Here is a close up of the stems of Hao, showing the distinct claw-like glands at the petiole base.
This next picture is a close up of Holei (Ochrosia compta) lacking the claws.
But if you happen across Holei in flower, you’ll immediately feel ashamed of ever confusing the two. I know I did.
Of the native Apocynaceae, Holei have by far the largest flowers. Again, some of the most easily seen Holei on O’ahu are along the Kaunala trail.
And just to round it out, here again is the picture of the Kaulu (Pteralyxia macrocarpa) flowers.
So far, I’ve seen Kaulu at opposite ends of O’ahu. I’d still have to say the population along the Mokule’ia trail in the Northern Wai’anaes is the easiest to see.
That’s the group. I hope this little set of photos helps with field identification. I’ll see you on the trails…