Thursday, October 1, 2009

This Week in Nature: The 1st week in October - lobelia

What's Happening in Hawaii 
during the 1st week in October:

Another rare Hawaiian lobelia is entering its flowering season. Known only by its scientific name, Rollandia ambigua, it is a small plant with hanging bunches of large magenta or white blossoms. Along with six other species of Rollandia, it is found nowhere in the world except O'ahu, where it favors elevations from 1000 to 2200 feet.
In Hawai'i, the lobelia family adapted itself to many different environments, as honeycreepers did among birds and as land snails did among mollusks. More than 150 exclusively Hawaiian forms of lobelia are known, and they exhibit extraordinary diversity, ranging from small herbs to trees 30 feet tall. Compare Rollandia ambigua with koli'i (below) and ālula (August 21 post) for a sense of this group's rich variety.

Koli'i, a native lobelia that blooms in early January 

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

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