A Visit to the Hawaiian Tropical Botanical Gardens Part 2

After walking down the boardwalk trail, we ventured down to the ground floor of the Hawaiian Tropical Botanical Gardens.

When you hit the bottom level and look up, the layers of foliage go on and on. This post will take us off the boardwalk trail, around the 'Palm Jungle' and to the Onomea waterfalls.

How many layers of canopy can you identify?

Facing east towards the Pacific Ocean. (I will tell you that living on the West Coast of the continental states and always having the Pacific Ocean to the 'WEST'..facing East and seeing the Pacific Ocean was weird! I was thrown off.)
I thought I knew what it was like to live in a 'green' world. We're spoiled in the Pacific Northwest with a plethora of evergreen trees and shrubs but the green of the tropics is intense. It's a bright green; vivid and thick. The air in the wet tropics is heavy, with a liquid texture, like rubbing lotion on your skin. I felt like I was moving slower at times, wading through the atmosphere. It was disorienting.

banana's? Musa 'Praying Hands' I think 
'Cat's Whiskers' Java Tea - orthosiphon aristatus - origin East Asia
Below, is one of my favorites shots of the ground floor. Many canopy layers are present with palms, bananas, cordylines. Just look at all that leafy goodness! I could have been on the set of Jumanji.

Below, is a basket fern. The foliage, green and bronze, was multi layered. I was quite taken with the shape and color. Isn't there a hat design like this?

'Basket Fern' - drynaria rigidula - polypodiaceae - origin, Old World Tropics
I marveled at all the sights. Everywhere I turned, I was snapping photos, not really even understanding what I was seeing, nor was I able to absorb it all at the time. Below, is a myriad of texture and colors. It was hard to capture the feelings of awe and wonder that this garden invoked.

In front Spathiphyllum 'Power Petite'  • Araceae • Peace Lily‎. The combination with purple cordyline and palm trunks as a backdrop to the peace lilies was greatly satisfying.

bromeliad with orchid growing in a tree..a gorgeous combination. Look at the way the orchid grips the tree trunk..so that's what it's suppose to look like, rather than jammed up in a pot.
Medinilla miniata  • Melastomataceae • Crimson Medinilla‎ - I think..? Picture does not do this plant justice. I stood back from this plant trying to figure out how to best show these red, flower gobs..just dangling mid air.
? Araceae ? Stunning foliage. I need to find one of these for my office.
..using my kids for scale. They are looking at the Onomea waterfall on the other side of the railing
Below is Onomea waterfalls. The stream runs for another quarter mile or so before flowing into the Onomea Bay.
Not sure I can count all of the different ferns present here..nor does the garden map / plant identification from the HTBG website have page for this area. Grrr.
Here's a good look at how the trail circles around the waterfall look out. I believe the palms are mainly Archontophoenix alexandrae  • Arecaceae • Alexandra Palm, King Palm, Hilo Palm‎. The lush carpet plant is unknown..which is driving me nuts.
money shot...
That's it for today's installment! Stay tuned...as my next post will take us through the Heliconcia Trail and to Bromeliad Hill. Later, I'll walk us through the color-popping Orchid Garden and see if I have any photos of Lily Lake.

Here are links to my prior posts on my visit to the Big Island.





  1. I've never been to Hawaii but your posts make me want to visit! It must be amazing to walk through this landscape populated by "houseplants." One big greenhouse!


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