Jacaranda 2016

There are a number of Jacaranda trees spread around upcountry Maui. They bloom in mid spring, depending on weather patterns. Their display of blue-purple flowers may be less than striking in some years over others; but, then again, any one year can be a remarkable display. Last year, 2015, was one of those remarkable years. This year too was quite expressive, and impressive. These pictures were taken on a Saturday afternoon in late April and many trees were in their full blossom, others had passed their peak. Timing is always an issue. Still, every spring it is a photographer’s delight to cruise around upcountry Maui capturing that year’s display of these lovely trees.

The photographs contained in this post are all edited in some way or another, either increasing saturation and vibrance, using high dynamic range processing, watercolor or oil paint filters and even removing power lines and road signs in the image.

The Expressive Jacaranda, 2016

A stricking purple flowered Jacaranda tree in a pasture on the slopes of Haleakala


 

The Flamingo Flower

The Flamingo Flower is the common name for Anthurium  scherzerianum. Whereas most people associate the Anthurium with the commonly called Painter’s Palette, Anthurium andraeanum.

The Painter’s Palette is the easiest one to find in shops. It has arrow shaped and highly polished leaves with an almost unreal looking appearance, which may get people wondering if the plant is genuine or artificial. The leaf or spathe surrounding the flowering spike is normally red but either way the flower spike itself is always straight.

The Flamingo Flower  has different shaped leaves, being longer and more slender. The flower spike is also curly and usually the same color as the spathe whereas the Painter’s Palette has a straight spathe which is typically yellow or white. Providing they are in flower, this is therefore the easiest way to tell the two varieties apart. The final visible comparable difference is that the Flamingo Flower is generally more compact than the Painter’s Palette.

The Flamingo Flower: Anthurium scherzerianum

The Flamingo Flower identified by its curled stem


 

A Spotted Eagle Ray

A spotted eagle ray was a special treat. Heading out for a morning snorkel/swim, the north end of the south shore looks exceptionally calm. That must mean the south end of the south shore will be crystal clear! And yet, that was not the case. A small swell had stirred up sand and silt. So, back to the north end of the south shore, to a favorite spot, and to be then rewarded with the sighting a spotted eagle ray. Not that uncommon in south Maui waters, yet not nearly as prevalent as, say, the turtles. Casually cruising in the fairly shallow coral-laden waters of north Kihei, I followed along as the eagle ray meandered around the area, taking pictures with my little underwater point and shoot camera. Some of these images are rendered through filters, such as monochrome and waterpaint…..

A little technical information about the spotted eagle ray: The spotted eagle ray is commonly observed in bays and over coral reefs as well as the occasional foray into estuarine habitats. Although it occurs in inshore waters to depths of approximately 200 feet (60 m), the spotted eagle ray spends most of its time swimming in schools in open water. In open waters, spotted eagle rays often form large schools and swim close to the surface. It is known to swim long distances across open waters as evidenced by its presence in Bermuda. This species is capable of leaping completely out of the water when pursued. It swims by “flying” gracefully through the water via the undulation of the pectoral fins. When this ray is caught and taken out of the water, it produces loud sounds. Although much research is still needed on the life history of the spotted eagle ray, it is known that this species shows high site fidelity (individuals often stay in or return to the same location). This ray also interacts socially with other individuals within its own species.

Order: Myliobatiformes
Family: Myliobatidae
Genus: Aetobatus
Species: narinari

 

A Spotted Eagle Ray

a spotted eagle ray cruising along the coral laden sea floor


 

Maui’s Spring Time Jacaranda

Every spring, in April or May, depending on weather patterns of that year, upcountry Maui explodes in purple. Maui’s spring time Jacaranda blossoming often draws visitors and residents alike to take a drive on the slopes of Haleakala to view these stunning, bold trees. The technical name of this colorful tree is Jacaranda mimosifolia. It is a sub-tropical tree native to south-central South America that has been widely planted elsewhere because of its beautiful and long-lasting blue/purple flowers. On Maui, they can be found along highways, in open fields, on private property and amidst strands of indigenous evergreen trees at about the 3500 foot level.

 

The photos in this post were taken one afternoon in mid April, generally considered an early blooming. Enjoy the views of

Maui’s Spring Time Jacaranda

Maui's spring time Jacaranda tree can be found bloosming amidst a strand of evergreens


The Ornamental Crane Flower

The ornamental Crane Flower, also known as Bird of Paradise, is one of the most beautiful exotic flowers. The Crane Flower is native to South Africa but can be found throughout the world in tropical and warm climates. The petals of the Crane Flower, or Bird of Paradise, resemble a brightly colored bird in flight and so the name Bird of Paradise. The unusually beautiful shape and brilliant colors have made these flowers a designer’s favorite often being used as a landscape favorite around homes, apartments, condominiums and office buildings.

a colorful closeup of the ornamental crane flower blossom