Leptecophylla tameiameiae, or pūkiawe, is a member of the heath family (Ericaceae) native to the Hawaiian islands and Marquesas Islands. It is variable in appearance, perhaps related to its ability to grow in habitats ranging from the semi-arid lava deserts of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to montane wet forests.
A set of links today, as I am preparing to be away next week:
- Gerald Carr’s photos of Leptecophylla tameiameiae
- iNaturalist photographs and observations
- the Native Plants of Hawai’i account for Leptecophylla tameiameiae includes the meaning of the epithet: “named in behalf of King Kamehameha I, or Kamehameha the Great (c.1758-1819), who established the Kingdom of Hawai’i in 1810.”
- Leptecophylla tameiameiae ethnobotanical uses, via the Bishop Museum’s Hawaiian Ethnobotany Online Database
The second image is of Halema’uma’u Crater, also from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It is a pit crater located within the much larger summit caldera of Kīlauea, the volcano that is in the news right now. These photographs are from January, 2016–there wasn’t even any active lava flows at the time (I had hoped to attempt some of those iconic images of lava flowing into the ocean).