Invasive plants of Hawai'i
African Tulip Tree, also known as "Flame of the Forest," originates from the tropical parts of West Africa, but is now widely spread all over the world, where it is classified as a weed. For example, in Hawaii, this tree is considered an invasive, detrimental to our native ecosystem and our watersheds.
This lei is made with the seeds that are tightly packed by the hundreds in a pod that are dispersed via the wind. More than this beautiful lei, the seeds are also edible and the wood can be used.
Prosopis pallida, a native of Southwestern South America was introduced to the Hawaiian islands in 1828. The first tree can be traced back to Father Alexis Bachelot, who planted a tree at the Catholic Mission on Fort Street. This tree was grown from the seed of a Peruvian tree growing in Paris. The tree became widespread throughout Hawai'i by 1840.
Kiawe quickly became an invasive species, out-competing, depriving nearby plants of water, and shading out native ones. However looking at it from a different perspective it can control soil erosion, a problem facing many Hawaiian beaches, is edible, a source of firewood, and building material, as well as fodder for all types of animals.
This lei was a total experiment while camping in Kaupo on Maui, surrounded by not many other plants besides kiawe, I got to making a lei po'o. It began to get closer to sunset and the leaves began to close, it turns out it goes to sleep at night, so I put it down for the rest of the evening. I woke up the next morning with the leaves waking up as well! I was shocked and excited. I finished it and gave it to a friend for his birthday. It did this for a couple weeks before completely drying. The dried lei still held its color.