Friday, November 28, 2014

Limahuli Garden and Preserve, Kauai

Limahuli Garden and Preserve, Kauai Hawaii
Welcome to the beautiful Limahuli Garden on the north shore of the island of Kauai.  Limahuli Garden and Preserve is one of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens, located in the 1,000 acre Limahuli valley and the home to nearly 250 taxa of native plants and birds. Out of Hawaii’s 1200 native plant species about 114 are already extinct and approximately 50 or less individuals of the 300 native species are remaining in the wild.  Mostly all of the native plants in the Limahuli Gardens are extremely rare and known to be endangered.  The mission of the National Botanical Garden is to preserve the Limahuli Valley and its ancient Hawaiian plants in their natural setting and save them from extinction.  On a recent visit to the island of Kauai I had the extraordinary pleasure of observing and learning about the history of these gardens first hand…an amazing and unforgettable experience! 
Limahuli Garden and Preserve-Makana Mountain in Backdrop
Limahuli Garden and Preserve Restoration Project Ancient Home Site

Limahuli Garden and Preserve Traditional Hawaiian Hale House

Surrounded by majestic Makana mountains and lush tropical rain forest the culture of the ancient Polynesians is preserved through this traditional Hawaiian hale house that was reconstructed on the footprint of an ancient house site in a 2013 restoration project led by cultural elders.  The ancient Hawaiians constructed the hale house of tropical resources which were and still are very abundant, thus respecting and protecting the forest community of the Limahuli valley.  Throughout the gardens are also lava rock terraces that were built by Limahuli's early inhabitants.
Limahuli Valley
Limahuli Valley
Citrus reticulata (Tangerine) 
Known as Mandarin Orange in other parts of the world, Citrus reticulata (Tangerine) was brought to the Hawaiian Islands in 1825.
Limahuli Garden and Preserve

Mai'a Rare Hawaiian Banana Tree

Olena (Tumeric Curcuma longa)
Olena (Tumeric Curcuma longa) is important in Asian cuisine but was traditionally used for medicine and ceremony in Hawaii and is still used in medicine today.
Limahuli Garden and Preserve

Tropical Hibiscus

 Bird of Paradise Strelitzia reginae. 

Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae), an iconic symbol of Hawaii is neither native nor introduced by Polynesians.  It came to Hawaii in the 19th century as an ornamental.
Bromeliad

Hawaiian Ti Plant (Cordyline fruticosa)in Plantation Era Garden
Cordyline fruiticosa (Hawaiian Ti Plant) was considered to be sacred by the early Hawaiians and the symbol of high rank and power. It was worn or carried in ancient ceremonies as protection from evil spirits and is still used today in modern rituals. It's waxy leaves repel water and have many uses.  In cooking they are used as a wrapper for storing and cooking food, in building as thatch for housing and in clothing for sandals and rain gear. Red varieties of Ti have been introduced to Hawaii and hybridized to produce many beautiful foliage colors and are reproduced from seed.
Hala (Pandanus tectorius)
Hala is a native plant of Hawaii as discovered in 1993 when a preserved haha branch dating back to 1.4 million years ago was discovered in a broken lava rock near Hanalei Bay. Native Polynesians also brought over Hala to use for weaving into mats, baskets, flooring and pillows and also for the sails for their canoes. 
Pandanus tectorius (Hala Tree) Fruit
The female Hala plant produces a fruit which resembles that of a pineapple. When ripe the cluster of fruit breaks into separate fleshy parts that were known to be eaten during times of famine.
Limahuli Stream

Limahuli Stream is a freshwater source beginning at the top of the valley at 3,330 feet (1,015 meters) above sea level and plummeting over an 800-foot (244 meter) waterfall before reaching the valley floor and continuing to the ocean.  Many unique animals and plants live in the Limahuli Stream including all five species of Hawaiian freshwater fish.  The value of freshwater to the Hawaiian culture is expressed in their language with wai meaning "fresh water" and lani being the word for "heaven,sky"; hence Wailani=heavenly water. 
Araucaria columnaris (Cook Pine) Limahuli Garden and Preserve
Araucaria columnaris (Cook Pine) was introduced into Hawaii as a landscaping and lumber tree and is the most common Araucaria species in Hawaii.  The striking foliage on these  trees resembles that of a Norfork Pine but finer and more wispy...just beautiful along with the mountains in the backdrop.
Limahuli Garden and Preserve

Limahuli Garden and Preserve

Alpinia purpurata (Red Ginger Flower)

Alpinia purpurato (Tahitian Red Ginger)was an introduction to Hawaii and is one of over 1,300 species of ginger that can be found around the world. Each flower is actually a clump of red spikes that grow out of the end of a long, leafy green stalks that can grow up to 6 to 7 feet in height.  Red Ginger are not edible but are great as a cut flower and can be found in many Hawaiian tropical flower arrangements.
Limahuli Native Forest Walk

Limahuli Native Forest Walk
Alula (Brighamia insignis)-Endangered Species
Alula (Brighamia insignis) Endangered Species
Alula is an unusual, almost prehistoric looking plant that is native to Kauai and extinct in other parts of the world.  Once found on the windswept sea cliffs of Kauai, Alula suffered a serious decline in population from Hurricane Iniki destroyed half the natural population along the NaPali Coast in 1992, leaving only one remaining growing in the wild. According to the U.S. Botanic Garden, the only pollinator for the plant was a now extinct "hawk moth".  Alula can now only produce seed when artificially pollinated by humans. Thanks to conservation efforts, the endangered Alula has been preserved in National Botanical Garden's Limahuli Garden and Preserve, saving the plant from extinction. 
Limahuli Garden and Preserve

Araucaria columnaris (Cook Pine) Limahuli Garden and Preserve
Queen Emma or Spider Lily
Bread Fruit, Ulu (Artocarpus altilis)
Originating from the South Pacific, Breadfruit or Ulu, as it is named in Hawaiian, was one of the few life-sustaining plants the Polynesians brought with them when they sailed to the Hawaiian Islands.  The fruit and seeds of all three species are edible and very nutritious filled with vitamin B, calcium and complex carbohydrates. When cooked the taste of breadfruit is described as potato like or similar to freshly baked bread. Ulu turns into a sweet and gooey fruit when very ripe but is more nutritional when unripe.  It also has many other uses as it has played a part in the making of construction materials, medicine, fabric, glue, insect repellent and animal feed.  Ulu is known as the "tree of bread" in Hawaii.
 Cordyline fruticosa Cameroon (Fancy Ti Plant)
Limahuli Garden and Preserve Visitor Center
Here we are back at the visitors center.  If you are in the area of the north shore of Kauai be sure to give these magnificent gardens a look.  The views of the gardens are amazing and the staff are wonderful and very helpful.  Limahuli Garden was selected by the American Horticultural Society as one of the best natural botanical gardens in the United States and has both self guided and guided walking tours available Tuesday through Saturday 9:30-4:00 pm.  Since it is the windward side of the island and a tropical rain forest chances are it could be raining so bring rain gear just in case and enjoy!  
Limahuli Garden and Preserve
 
North Shore of the Island of Kauai, state of Hawaii
5-8291 Kuhio Highway, Haena, HI 96714
I hope you enjoyed the virtual tour.  Visiting the Limahuli Gardens was like a journey back in time to a natural undisturbed rainforest with native plantings, a view of the misty mountains above and Pacific Ocean below...a majestic view that will take your breath away...an experience I will always remember.

 For further information visit Limahuli Gardens and Preserve.

Aloha. 

As Always...Happy Gardening!


Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

32 comments:

  1. I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed this amazing post. Your photos are exquisite, showing stunning scenery and the most beautiful flowers. All very interesting to read about too. Thank you so much for sharing with Today's Flowers. We have the Island of Kauai on our bucket list. One day I hope :) Have a great weekend!

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    1. I am so glad you enjoyed it Denise! I worked quite a bit on this post and tried to include some of the history behind these photographs and magnificent gardens. There are so many fascinating stories about the wonderful Hawaiian culture and this was truly an amazing experience.

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  2. An amazing post! The photos of all the plants and flowers are fantastic and beautiful!

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    1. Thank you so much Mary! We traveled a long way to see these gardens so even though it was slightly drizzling I was on a mission to get lots of photos to share. One of the staff members was nice enough to loan me a plastic bag to put my camera lens into so I could get these photographs without water spots, and since it is a tropical rainforest the clouds over the mountains actually added to the charm!

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  3. The photos of the Hawaiian plants are so amazing, and wonderful to look at with the dreary cold weather we have. Some of them were familiar in San Diego. It's great they are trying to protect and propagate them, it's sad to lose species. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. That is what makes these gardens even more special. The National Botanical Gardens in Hawaii are all about preservation, protecting endangered species and educating people about the island. The whole experience was absolutely amazing! I would also like to visit San Diego someday...it's on the list!

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  4. Fascinating tour!!! I never realized that so many plants were extinct or endangered! And they are so unusual!! Thank you!

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    1. Thank you for visiting and commenting Judy. I am so glad you enjoyed the tour! According to literature many of the plant species have become endangered within the last two decades due to damage from two hurricanes. Hurricane Iniki did a lot of damage back in 1992.

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  5. What an exquisite post! Love this since I lived in Hawaii for a year as a child and I have heard of many of these plants but didn't really know much about them. So informative! And beautiful photos! I know you are truly happy you got to visit such a place.

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    1. Hawaii and all the plants there are wonderful Marie and I am glad to have experienced these gardens. It is absolute paradise, especially for a plant enthusiast like myself. We visited where you are in Arizona on the way back and enjoyed seeing the desert plants as well. Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

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  6. Thanks for the virtual guided tour. So many nice things to see and learn.

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    1. Hi Charlene. I am glad you enjoyed the virtual tour of the Limahuli Gardens! I also enjoyed your photography of the frosty leaves...so lovely. The temperatures are starting to cool down here as well and there has been frost in the early mornings. I'm not ready for winter quite yet and hope the milder temperatures continue just a little bit longer. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!

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  7. What a beautiful, lush, tropical, garden.

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    1. There's nothing like a tropical rainforest for the gardener at heart! Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment. Also... I loved the story of the toy shop...so nostalgic!

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  8. Seems to be an incredibly lush place. Cordyline in their right habitat! Love the Alula!

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    1. It is... and what I appreciated most about the gardens is that the plants are in their correct habitat. The Alula, known as Hawaiian "cabbage on a stick" is only native to the islands of Kauaʻi and Niʻihau so it was amazing to be able experience this rare and native plant. There were so many rare and interesting species to encounter and yes..the Cordyline were much healthier looking than the ones you see on the mainland !

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  9. Really timely post for me Lee. I enjoyed all your beautiful scenic photos and trip to the Limahuli Garden. I really want to get to the rainforest on Maui, but I am not sure we will. We are on the dry side of the island. I did not even get to the rainforest on St. Lucia for the same reason. We were where cactus was growing, but did get to the Botanical gardens there. Many green lush plants. It looks like you had a wonderful time, and I do see some plants that look like those I saw in St. Lucia. I am glad you saw the native plants. I am wondering if I will see any native birds?

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    1. Hi Donna. There are many exotic looking birds on the islands and many of them are native to the area. I will be posting some of them in the upcoming months as I go through all my photos...all 1000 of them! You are sure to see some interesting birds and they don't even seem to mind the camera. I think you are going to be in your glory in Maui!

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  10. Hawaii used to be a favourite touring destination for new zealanders.

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    1. I'd bet New Zealand has similar species that I would love to visit only it would take a little while to get there...about 24 hours in flight! Thank you for visiting and commenting!

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  11. What a beautiful preserve. so many wonderful plants and flowers in a lush setting. It must rain alot there too.

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    1. Hi Felicia. The north side of Kauai where the Limahuli Gardens are located gets approximately 300 inches of rainfall a year. The staff at the gardens made a good point...that there wouldn't be a rainforest without all the rain...so true and it makes one thankful for the clouds in the mountains!

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  12. Nice post!! I would love to check out this garden. I've been to Kauai a few times, but have not seen this. Thanks for the tour!!

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    1. Thank you! You definitely should check out these gardens. It is about an hour ride from the southeast coast (Koloa) to the Limahuli Gardens and Preserve and there are dry caves and Hanalei Bay (Puff the Magic Dragon) to visit on the way. It was an amazing day and very scenic drive up the coast.

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  13. All so very lush and beautiful, Lee. What a wonderful experience for you. Thrilled to accompany you virtually. P. x

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    1. I am so glad you enjoyed the virtual tour Pam and thank you for visiting and commenting. I keep going back and looking at the pictures to keep the wonderful memories going of the day at the gardens. With temperatures falling and winter on the way the photographs are becoming even more and more comforting!

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  14. Thanks for letting me tag along on your trip, really enjoyed that! So many wonderful plants I have never seen before :-)

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    1. You are so welcome Helene and thanks for coming along on the tour! The plants in Limahuli are really amazing and so different from anything we have here back on the mainland. It surely was an unforgettable experience!

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  15. oh what a lovely place, your pretty images represent it well!! bird of paradise, one of my favorites!!! you did a wonderful job with this entry!!!

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    1. I am so glad you enjoyed the images Debbie and thank you so much for visiting and leaving a comment! Have a great weekend!

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  16. Thank you for this visit to a gorgeous tropical rain forest. My best friend and her husband are in Kauai for several months.

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    1. Thank you for visiting Barb and I am so glad you enjoyed the gardens. Your friend will certainly enjoy Kauai. It is a lush and beautiful paradise!

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Thank you for visiting. I love reading your comments and knowing you have been here, and will try to reciprocate on your blog. If you have any questions I will try my very best to answer them. As always...HAPPY GARDENING!

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