As we drove along the road in the park, the guide told us about the ‘ohi’a trees and I took photos of the fronds of giant hapu’u, a tree fern. Everything looked very green and the color almost glows in the photos.
Along the way you'll find many types of plants that only grow around the volcano area. The main plant in the area is known as the Ohia Lehua flower. The legend is, if you pick one, it will rain. The plant is indigenous to the island of Hawaii and is found no where else.
There are also several kinds of berries. Some are edible, some will kill you so don't chance it. The akala berry and the ohelo berry look similar. One paralises your diaphram, the other will nourish you. Tip, don't eat the akala berry... The popolo berries are also edible but too much of it will give you diarhea. These berries are small and dark blue, almost black.
Around the parking lot and even out to the Kilauea overlook (and many other places in the park) I was delighted at the contrast of the native Ohia Lehua trees to the desolation and dismal character of its surroundings.
The grayish bark and limbs on these small-to-medium sized trees provides a pleasing setting for the small but beautiful red-puff blossoms that it creates.
Oh God, thank you for the beauty I can find in the bleakest of settings.
Ohia lehua is Hawaii's most abundant native tree. The flowers are usually red. The flower, lehua, is sacred to Pele, the Hawaiian Volcano Goddess, and is the flower of the Island of Hawai’i.