When I smell shower blossoms in the air, I remember myself in places I have been before, under a cool spreading shower tree, beneath dark green leaves, pastel petals drifting around me, on a quiet late summer afternoon.
Shower trees are drought tolerant and so often used, almost to exclusivity, in Hawaiian landscapes along roads, in parks, schools, etc.Because of its thick green leaf coverage, it also makes for a cooling respite from the sun.
After the Gold Shower has lost its blossoms, the tree will produce a long, narrow seed pod over a foot in length.When dried, the insides are quite sticky with a very pungent odor, a vast contrast to the fruity fragrance of the delicate flowers.
The Moa or Psilotum nudum, is a leafless fern which grows wild in Hawaiian landscape.The thin twigs form yellow spores, which are used medicinally by the Hawaiians as a purging agent, and placing a bunch of these twigs in the water with your floral arrangements will help to keep the water clean and clear.
The White Hibiscus, or Koki'o, its Hawaiian name, is endemic to most of the islands of Hawaii.This hibiscus has been used as the parent to hybridize many more varieties of hibiscus.Its simple lines with beautiful red stamen have been referred to in many Hawaiian songs and legends of old.
This beautiful little fire or flame lily creeps along the lower forest canopy on a light green vine.It's a comical lily, appearing to bloom upside down with its stamen pointing downward and the petals curling upward like flickering flames.
Ti hybrids come in many variations of leaf structure and colors.The parent form was undoubtedly the emerald green, flat-leafed variety.You can find now frilly leaves, wide leaves, thin and narrow leaves, short and round leaves…and the colors are endless.
The Ti Leaf has many uses in everyday Hawaiian life.It is used as a cooking tool to wrap foods for steaming or baking, it is used to make clothing and adornments, it is used in religious ceremonies, and even used for its healing properties.The Ti plant has been hybridized to produce many new colors and leaf appearances and is a beautiful garden addition.
Moss is said to grow on the north-facing side of rocks and trees, a directional marker used by hikers everywhere.But in a rain forest, this may not always be an accurate indicator of northern exposure, as moss will envelop its host in all directions!