Friday, March 16, 2012

Foster Botanical Garden

When we went to the big island of Hawaii we visited the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden in Onomea Bay. It was absolutely spectacular and it focused on understory plants. The place, a former dump site, was chockablock with gorgeous tropical plants.

The Foster Botanical Garden on Oahu is mainly focused on giant old trees, some dating to 1853. They were awesome.

Cavanillesia platanifolia

This quipo tree was planted in 1930 and its trunk was more than 10 feet in diameter. It was gorgeous.

Spanish cedar Cedrela odorata

This baobab tree was planted in 1940 and it has night-blooming flowers from which bats feed.

Baobab tree Adansonia digitata
Baobab tree Adansonia digitata

The fallen pod of an Encephalartos gratus fit right in, as this part of the garden is called the "prehistoric glen."

Encephalartos gratus

Ferrrrrrrrrns. I'm drawn to them. Except that I'm pretty sure this was a cycad, sometimes called "living fossils."

They are HUGE!

This is the be-still tree. It looks pretty normal . . .

Thevetia peruviana

. . . until you look up. So very beautiful.

Thevetia peruviana

So many of the trees had roots like this. They looked like shark fins.

Silk-cotton tree Bombax ceiba

This tree has a Latin name but I don't care what it was because, hello, that's the Sweetums tree.

Sweetums was always my favorite muppet. 

Corypha sp.

Kalanchoe Pumla

Queen Emma lily Crinum agustum

Flapjack plant Kalanchoe thyrsiflora

I thought this was a rose bush but it's a euphorbia!

Crown-of-thorns Euphorbia milii

They also had a greenhouse where they had all sorts of plants I loved that would never be hardy here.

Finger palm Rhaphis multifida

Anyone know what this is? It didn't have a sign and I WANT ONE.

Air plant Tillandsia funckiana

And three big boulders set just so. I really want to do this in my yard.


  1. Wow those plants are amazing! I love the fern and the big trees. So cool. I'm glad at least something on your trim turned out good.

  2. Those Cycads are unbelievable! And if I ever saw fin roots like that in my garden I would go giddy...too cool.

    Hope you find out what that cool plant is that didn't have a sign, it's a beauty. Excellent garden tour!

  3. HammeringOurWayHomeMarch 17, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    That shark fin tree is too cool, never seen anything like it! All these plants are so swoon-worthy.

  4. Cool trees! I love the kind that have the fins around their bases: we were told that in Africa where they have tree species like that, whole families will live around and between those huge dividing fins.
    I'll hazard a guess your mystery plant might be a kind of Monstera, but I fully confess I'm out of my depth with tropicals.

  5. Ah, that's so cool! Thanks for the heads up on the mystery plant--I'm going to look that up!

  6. What beautiful, evocative images, Heather. I did not get to this botanical garden when I visited Hawaii. Thanks for giving me a grand tour.

  7. Thanks for stopping by, Lee. I recently found you blog and love your stories so much.

  8. Glad you made it to a garden there! I think (and my memory isn't the MOST reliable) that we went there as well on our visit (is it the one near downtown Honolulu?). I'm pretty sure, because it had the same description in our little travel book (only one worth seeing..ha)! The thing I remember most (aside from our profuse sweating) was all the little Anoles running around...they were the cutest ever! I can't remember if they had one in the Botanical Garden itself, but I was mesmerized by the Banyan trees around the island...unbelievable!

  9. Yep, it's in downtown Honolulu. And I wish we had seen anoles--we saw a lot of birds (including chickens) but no lizards. Our rental house was full of geckos since it was, you know, full of things for them to eat.

    I kind of wish we'd gone to what the guidebook called "the worst of the worst" because I think it would have agaves. And I love the banyon trees too! So crazy, so full of screaming birds, so awesome. I fell in love with the Norfolk Island pines, too. I want to put one in our yard but they are zone 10-11 and they require 50% humidity. Boo.

  10. IMG_1468 (after the Corypha pictures) is an Aglaonema, probably a hybrid of some sort.

    The large, heart-shaped leaves with white veins in IMG_1516 (after the Euphorbia milii) is probably Philodendron gloriosum.

    My guess for the plant in IMG_1506 (the I WANT ONE plant) would be an Anthurium or Philodendron; I initially thought maybe Trevesia palmata but Google Image Search says probably not. You might try asking Exotic Rainforest about it: it seems like his sort of thing.

  11. Thanks so much--you rock! I'm going to google and get those photo descriptions updated.

  12. damn, girl. you take some fine-ass plant pictures.

  13. Thanks, lady. You should see Scott's (he commented above). His photography is coffee table book-worthy.