Extinct Hawaiian Birds: Laysan Rail

5 03 2012

The Laysan Rail or Laysan Crake (Porzana palmeri)


15 10 2011

Pāpa`i Thalamita crenata known as the Blue Pincher Crab is indigenous to the Pacific Islands and unlike most swimming crabs is most active in the daytime.

They are gray to greenish brown with a white tipped claws and a broad back band. Their bodies are sometimes pink and the upper part of their claws are blue. They grow to a width of approximately five inches. The live in brackish muddy areas and sandy areas of salt water. They dine on limu, small pieces of plant and animal matter, snails, and mangrove detritus.

Endangered Plant: ‘Oha Wai

31 07 2011

‘Oha Wai, more commonly referred to as Hawaiian Lobelia, is a plant that was once thought to be extinct is growing again on the Big Island. In the summer of 2011 “West Hawaii Today” reports that the Kohala Watershed Partnership has received a federal grant to protect and restore the endangered plant species known as oha wai. The plants have greenish, white flowers and dark green leaves tinged with red and prefer wet native forests.

Precious Fresh Water and Kalo

17 07 2011

Taro or Kalo as it is known in Hawaiian was the most important food plant in ancient Hawaii. To properly irrigate the Kalo the cultivators known as kanaka mahi’ai had to design a series of ‘auwai or irrigation ditches to insure that their crops would have ample fresh water from the upland areas. Kalo was known as the “plant of the land” and was best grown near cool flowing waters.

Plants Native to Hawaii: ‘Ili’ahi

25 09 2009
photo by Forest and Kim Starr

photo by Forest and Kim Starr

Freycinet sandalwood, known as ‘Ili’ahi in Hawaiian, is a native Hawaiian flowering tree in the European mistletoe family. Leaves on these small trees are leathery and grayish. The green-orange flowers are fragrant. It is found in dry forests and shrublands on all the Hawaiian Islands but was exported to China in vast quantities due to its attractive smell.

Plants Native to Hawaii: Mamaki

25 08 2009
Pipturus albidus photo by Forest and Kim Starr

Pipturus albidus photo by Forest and Kim Starr

Mamaki is the major host plant for the larvae of the Kamehameha butterfly one of the only known native butterflies. It is a large shrub or small tree found in the open forests in the nettle family. The leaves are light green above and whitish beneath. The leafstalks and veins are red and sometimes green. The flowers are clustered.

The fruits were occasionally used as medicine but the major use of the plant was in the production of kapa or bark cloth.

Fresh māmaki leaves were combined with hot stones and spring water by the Native Hawaiians to produce an herbal tea for medicinal use.

Fish of Hawaii: ‘Aweoweo

15 08 2009

More commonly referred to as Hawaiian Bigeye, this native fish is laterally compressed and averages 10-12 inches long. Found at depths of 20-100 feet most commonly in caves in the day time and feeding up in the water column at night.

It feeds on zooplankton such as larval fish, crabs, and other crustacean larvae.