Thursday, July 30, 2009

This Week in Nature: The 5th week in July

What's Happening in Hawaii
during the 5th week in July:

Earth's only woody geraniums, native to Hawai'i, are blooming on the upper slopes of Haleakalā on Maui.

Photo: Forest & Kim Starr

 'Apapane, 'i'iwi, and other honeycreepers visit the flowers to feed and, in doing so, cross-pollinate them. The shape of the blossom encourages birds to sip nectar from below, bringing their heads into contact with the flower's reproductive organs.

Photos: DOFAW

As they move from plant to plant, the honeycreepers pick up the pollen from one flower and leave it at another.

Haleakalā offers diverse environments, and its geraniums have evolved in remarkably different ways. They range from trees 20 or 30 feet tall to shrubs no bigger than 18 inches. The smallest is called hinahina and, like the silversword, takes its name from the silvery color of its leaves.

Taken from "Hawaii: A Calendar of Natural Events"  
published by the Bishop Museum and Kamehameha Schools in 1989

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