Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pa'u 'o Hi'iaka - Hawaiian coastal wildflower

Pa'u 'o Hi'iaka - Hawaiian coastal wildflower
This pretty little wildflower is called Pa'u 'o Hi'iaka, which translates to 'skirt of Hi'iaka. (In Hawaiian mythology, Hi'iaka was a sister to the volcano goddess, Pele).

Pa'u 'o Hi'iaka is a member of the Morning Glory family. It is a perennial, and is seen mostly in coastal areas on the leeward sides of the Hawaiian Islands. It roots in small patches of dirt between rocks and spreads out as a trailing vine.

At one time, this pant was thought to be a Hawaiian endemic, i.e., found only in Hawaii. Older books and reference materials give the scientific name as Jacquemonita sandwicensis. More recently it was determined to be a subspecies of Jacquenmontia ovalifolia, which is found in some other tropical areas such as Mexico and the West Indies. As a result, the status of Pa'u 'o Hi'iaka was changed from 'endemic' to 'indigenous' to Hawaii, and its full scientific name is now Jacquemontia ovalifolia ssp. sandwicensis - quite a mouthful of a name for such a dainty little flower! [Click on the photo to enlarge.]

Jacquemontia ovalifolia ssp. sandwicensis

Name: Pa'u 'o Hi'iaka (Jacquemontia ovalifolia ssp. sandwicensis)
Location: Kohala Coast, Big Island, Hawaii
Camera: Nikon D40x
Focal Length: 19.0 mm
Exposure: 0.008s (1/125)
Aperture: f/8.0
ISO: 100
Lens: Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II


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