Readers’ wildlife photos

January 8, 2022 • 8:30 am

Thanks to all who sent in photos, and keep ’em coming!

Today we’ll have part 2 (of 3 total, part 1 is here) Emilio d’Alise’s photos of Hawaiian flowers, whether native, domesticated, or invasive (there are no IDs, but readers can help).  Here are his notes, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them:

While living in Hawaiʻi, I photographed a lot of stuff. Occasionally I paired my D7000 with the great Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR Macro lens for flower shooting sessions around Kona or at the Kona Old Airport park. These are some of those photos.

There was a time when I would have researched the names of each and every flower . . . that time has passed. Now, I just enjoy them. If anyone really must know each and every one, HERE is a link to Hawai’ian flowers, but know that in the past I’ve not had a tremendous amount of luck with any but the most common varieties. Plus, some are imported species and not native to the islands, and only seen in gardens and the grounds of resorts or condominium complexes.

11 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Nice photos. I could not name many either. When I lived in Hawaii I remember anytime you had to go to the airport to pick someone up, you stopped at the lei shop before heading on down the terminal. That was mandatory.

    1. Thank you . . . luckily, few people visited us in Hawaiʻi. And, the two that did, I didn’t bother with leis.

      But, I remember a tour bus operator who would stop at the Old Kona Airport park and gather plumeria flowers for his customers. The thing was, they weren’t his trees and he ignored the prominent signs that said not to pick the flowers.

      I would also see older ladies with bags and sticks go through the trees and knock flowers down and gather them, presumably for garlands. They would also walk by the resorts and pick flowers from any branch that overhung the public areas.

  2. I’m hitting the comments rate limit, so I’ll just post a general “Thank You” for the comments.

    Most of these flowers are cultivated varieties.

    There are a fair number of indigenous and endemic flowers in Hawaiʻi, but I’ve never found a comprehensive list. Rather, I’ve found lists of names without photos, but without visual confirmation, I can’t be sure.

    Most of the flowers above are easily identifiable by comparing them to online images. Except for the 7th and 8th photos, I’d identified all the others (at one point or another). In the three years I lived there, I’d only seen those pink flowers in one spot, which probably means they were introduced (but I can’t say for sure).

    Really, given these are volcanic islands, if you go back far enough, everything on these islands can be considered invasive. For instance, the Ti plant came over with the original Polynesians, so, it was introduced. But culturally, some people would consider it native.

  3. I note a high preponderance of 5-petaled flowers in this gorgeous selection.
    What does this mean?
    1] The photographer has a penchant for 5-petaled flowers, or
    2] The Hawaiian biosphere is somehow hostile to other petal counts, or
    3] The time of day was somehow hostile to 3- & 6- & whatever other counts of petals, or
    4] Mostly only plants with 5-petaled flowers were hardy enuf to make the invasive trip, or
    5] Birds go about eating or gathering for their occult purposes other counts of petals, or
    6] There is a peculiar population of flower-eating bugs that avoids 5-petaled flowers, or
    7] Something else?
    I am reminded of Franz Kafka’s tiny 1¶ story, “Passers-by”.
    [You can google it in just a few seconds — & read it in about a minute.]
    The World is just plumb fulla wonderful possibilities!

    1. 1) The five petal-wheels of flowers represent the five qualities of psychological perfection: sincerity, faith, aspiration, devotion, surrender, and so on. Meaning, flowers are trying to tell us something about ourselves . . . and few are listening.

      2) Most flowers are fans of prime numbers. But, three petals are too few and seven petals are too many. So, Goldilocks-like, flowers prefer five as being just right.

      3) Copied from elsewhere: Flowering plants classified as monocotyledon, or monocots, produce seeds containing a single plant embryo and tend to put forth blooms with three or multiples of three petals. Dicotyledon seeds, or dicots, contain two embryos, and flowers most often have four or five petals. Early Roman naturalists like Pliny the Elder noted the consistent five petals of the rose, and medieval mathematician Fibonacci incorporated observations of flower parts in his theory of cosmic numerical harmony. While numbers of flower petals produced have never provided complete support for either botanical classification or number theory, persistent repetitions have intrigued botanists and gardeners for centuries.

      3a) My thoughts: as too “why something rather than something else”, in this case, it comes down to common ancestors (I suspect). A particular feature (three versus four, or five, or more) could be incidentally related — but not contributory — to another feature that has/had some advantage. Or, it could be a vestigial feature now a burden as opposed to an advantage (as is the case with the brains of many people). Or, neutral with regard to environmental pressures.

      4) Some people assign meaning to particular numbers by finding correlations that might not be there but for the imagination of the observer. Some mathematicians believe “observed geometry is the fundamental building block of the universe and geometric patterns (therefore numbers) are given different meanings based on observational data. In this theory the number five is seen as the “flag of life” if you will. Look-up an image of a DNA strand viewed along axis…it’s mostly in series of five.”

      5) This paper explores the idea the number of petals depend on the location of cell clusters at the the shoot apex.

      6) I just like photographing them, and don’t ponder the deep meaning of the universe when I look at a flower. That’s what Nutella is for.

      1. Thanks!
        You have given me a few things to explore & think about.
        Nutella hasn’t crossed my mind in a long time.
        Yes — pondering the deep meaning of the universe leads to a lot of erroneous & troubling stuff.
        Even the shallow meaning of the universe is challenging!
        But pondering the face of Nature often yields bounties.
        Like, in the Kafka story.
        Making up ones mind too soon [failing The Marshmallow Test, q.v.] afflicts us all.
        Please keep the flowers coming.

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