After 2 years, I finally returned to Koke’e on Kaua’i. Did I learn anything in that intervening time… or did I just regress? Either way, hiking through that native forest is still such a blissful experience…
We hiked around the margins of the diverse mesic to wet forest, staying mostly along the Pihea trail. The amount of native biota up there never ceases to amaze me. All the old plants and animals that I had mentioned in the past (here and here) were still there.
I was especially glad to see this Cyanea hirtella again. To bad my timing was bad. Last time, I was just too late to see the flowers; this time I’m a tad too early. Oh well. If anybody is up that way in the next week or two, I’m sure it will be in full infloresence by then. Come on flickr!
I was able to see a bunch of new plants this time around. One that I’ve never seen before is this Pa’iniu (Astelia argyrocoma). I have yet to even come across any Astelia on O’ahu, so seeing this guy was a real treat. Pa’iniu was a very common plant. I saw it mostly growing epiphytically on mossy ‘ohia logs.
Here, we came across a Ha’iwale or Kanawao ke’o ke’o (Cyrtandra longifolia). The long leaves and overall rugosity reminded me of the C. lessoniana that I saw on Ka’ala. Considering the high variability within the native Cyrtandra ssp., I’m not even going to guess if these two taxa are closely related or not.
It was finally nice to see Mokihana (Melicope anisata). The fabled plant for the lei of Kaua’i; it was still common on parts of the Pihea trail.
Another cool plant that we came across was this akia (Wikstoemia furcata). It was especially distinctive for me because I’m used to seeing akia with fairly small fruit back on O’ahu (Aside from the fact that seeing some of them fruit is rare enough in the first place). This plant had fruit much larger than what I had seen in the past.
The last plant I want to highlight was this interesting individual. Along the Kawaikoi stream we came across this Pilo kea (Platydesma spathulata). It didn’t seem to be too common; this was the only plant that we noticed.
Before I wrap this post up I did want to mention that the birds were once again awesome. The Kaua’i ‘Elepaio (Chasiempis sandwichensis subsp. sclateri) were patient enough that I lucked into the decent shot at the beginning of the post. So thanks again, Koke’e, for sharing your natural beauty with us. Tune in next time as I’ll talk about the neat things we saw in the mesic forest.