I could put down roots in Hawaii

Ufa-halomtano heritiera longipetiolata (from Guam)

We went to Hawaii for the weekend. Doesn’t that sound cool? It was a quick trip over President’s Day weekend. We climbed Diamond Head, visited Pearl Harbor, did the Dole Plantation, visited Wiamea Valley Botanical Park and spent time on a beach and in the ocean every day.

From all the gardens and forests we saw, one thing that struck me was the roots of plants. Roughly speaking, there are two seasons: November through April the climate is humid, with temperatures of about 81°F (and lows of 65°F). More rain falls during the cooler season — June through October. It’s drier with daily high temperatures of about 84°F (and lows of 70°F). When your weather is this nice, you can expose your roots.

With average temperatures like that, I think I could put down roots there.

Don’t know all the names of the trees shown here. But what I do not know, Christopher of Outside Clyde probably does.

I’ll get some posts up with prettier pictures than of roots. But they intrigued me. We don’t see a lot of above ground tree roots here in Buffalo, unless we’ve done something mean to them like trapped them in a hellstrip.

In the gardens at Pearl Harbor. In the background, that’s the USS Bowfin, a submarine you can tour.
A banyan tree. They’re actually fig trees, known for their aerial prop roots. The prop roots form columns over time, indistinguishable from the main trunk. The main trunk can even die leaving behind the columns which keep growing outward.
Close up of banyan aerial prop roots.
A male Hala Tree.
A male Hala Tree.

These roots are mainly from a parasite plant growing up a tree trunk.

I have a long-time garden blog, a popular garden on America's largest garden tour, and have co-written a book on garden design titled, "Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs" When I'm not doing all that, I am an advertising designer always out looking to design things to promote your business. Look me up at #jcharlier.

0 comments on “I could put down roots in Hawaii

  1. Wow what a trip and those trees…I love the roots!!!


  2. You went to Oahu and didn't invite me? The trees I was seeing were mostly banyan and lauhala/pandanus. Banyans can and do germinate in the crotches of other trees and send roots down from above. They are also called strangler figs.Extremely thin soils on top of solid lava rock make for exposed roots. Add in that tropical soils tend to be very low in nutrients and the roots want to stay closer to the top where the decomposition is happening.


  3. I think I saw all the same trees (or reasonable facsimiles).We spent Thanksgiving in Honolulu. We stayed at the Diamond Head end of Honolulu. We could live there, but our grown kids are here.


  4. great post


  5. Glad I'm not the only one. I thought it made for an odd post.


  6. Next time I'll be sure to invite you. You could be my personal tour guide. And I knew you'd have all the answers.


  7. We were on the other side of Honolulu – two blocks in from Waikiki beach. I may have to send our kid there when she's grown, so we have a place to stay!


  8. I thought it was an odd post. Most don't go to Hawaii to shoot photos of root structures!


  9. I guess the phrase “put down roots” doesn't have the same meaning there.I was on a 2 week vacation there in the 80s – before the gardening phase in my life. I did get a cool shot of 10-foot high hedgerow of poinsettias in bloom.-Ray


  10. On previous trips, we stayed up at the other end (at Outrigger Reef on the Beach and another time at Hilton Hawaiian Village). We love Oahu. Visited travel friends up on the North Shore–they have a home on the beach! I'm incredibly jealous of that lifestyle….but, it's so far away from France!


  11. The first time I visited Hawaii I was taken aback by the hedgerows of poinsettias. It was before my gardening life too and my only exposure to poinsettias was as a Christmas plant in a cheap pot. I had no idea they were massive bushes and trees!


  12. We were at the Outrigger – but not the beach one, the Outrigger that was a few blocks inland — though we did walk through your Outrigger to check it out, since we had access to their pool and facilities. Friends with a home on the North Shore? I have to find a better collection of friends!


  13. Very interesting! You are right – we don't see roots like that often in the East. I wonder what happens in nature to make them grow like that? Erosion? Soil loss? Thanks for sharing!


  14. Great photos! Thank you for sharing.


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