Thanks To Hawaii Forest Site

The Mountain Naupaka of Hawaii
Posted: May 8, 2009

One of the more curious things to see along Hawaii’s trails are the odd “half-flowers” of mountain naupaka or “naupaka kuahiwi” in Hawaiian. While naupaka blossoms are not incomplete, they appear to be only half a flower because all the petals are on one side. So distinctive are these “half-flowers” that several Hawaiian legends exist that account for their unusual appearance.

Mountain naupaka evolved from beach naupaka. Beach naupaka is indigenous to Hawaii and throughout the tropical and subtropical zones of the Pacific and Indian Oceans — it has buoyant white seeds that can float on the ocean to reach distant shores. Mountain naupaka on the other hand, is endemic to Hawaii – all 6 species of are found no where else in the world and trace their origin to beach naupaka.

(photo is by Nathan Yuen)

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