Monday, January 4, 2010

This Week in Nature: The 1st week in January - Koli'i

What's Happening in Hawaii
during the 1st week in January

Koli'i (Trematolobelia macrostachys) is coming into bloom on all the islands. For most of its life, this native lobelia carries a single tuft of leaves at the top of its long, slender stem. When it reaches maturity, which may take as long as a decade, a plant puts forth an extraordinary burst of flowers, then drops all its leaves as fruit forms.

Each koli'i blossoms only once before dying, but protects an distributes its seed in a remarkable way to ensure reproduction. After a koli'i fruit has ripened, the moisture of the rainforest will rot away its fleshy skin, leaving a woody pod with many holes. Inside, waterproof sacs prevent the seeds from rotting as well. When dry weather comes in, these sacs split open and the pod works like a salt shaker, strewing seeds with every gust of wind.

To learn more, visit the Hawaii Ecosystems At Risk ( koli'i info page.

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

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