Road to Hana – the African Tulip Tree
This was shot looking up the coast on the road to Hana after a well deserved break from some hair-raising, white knuckle driving (and this was just the co-Pilot, Kathleen). We saw this outlook and were immediately drawn to these spectacular trees and their brilliant blossoms. It was probably a good 1000ft down from this vantage point and called for the use of a Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 which allows these tack sharp images and dreamy backgrounds. This lens rocks. If you look carefully, you will see a small dew drop – just a small touch and shows how lush it is on this side of Maui! Now a bit about this tree!
Spathodea is a monotypic genus in the flowering plant family, Bignoniaceae (If you can pronounce this, kudos). The single species it contains, Spathodea campanulata, is commonly known as the Fountain Tree, African Tulip Tree, Flame-of-the-forest, Rudra Palash, Pichkari or Nandi Flame. It is a tree that grows between 7–25 m (23–82 ft) tall and is native to tropical Africa. This tree is planted extensively as an ornamental tree throughout the tropics and is much appreciated for its very showy reddish-orange or crimson (rarely yellow), campanulate flowers. It is an invasive species in many tropical areas, however. Seems like this is the case here in Maui!
The flower bud ampule-shaped and contains water. These buds are often used by children who play with its ability to squirt the water. The sap sometimes stains yellow on fingers and clothes. The open flowers are cup-shaped and holds rain and dew, making them attractive to many species of birds. In Neotropical gardens and parks, their nectar is popular with many hummingbirds!
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Kathleen and Erik