April is native Hawaiian plant month!🌿💚 These are the unusual flowers of the ‘akoko tree (Euphorbia celastroides var. lorifolia)❇️ This endemic species is classified as Vulnerable, found only in the high elevation forests of Maui, and rare on Lāna‘i.🌄 ‘Akoko means "blood," and this refers to the red milky, sticky latex that naturally oozes from wounds or bruises.🤕 The pungent flowers have been described as smelling like bad breath.💩
_____________________________________________ ‘Akoko was widely used as firewood.🔥 The latex from ‘akoko mixed with 'ōhā wai (Clermontia spp.) was used to treat asthmatics and deep puncture wounds.⚕️ The latex was used as an ingredient in canoe paint, and in pīlali (bird lime) which is a sticky trap to ensnare forest birds for their feathers.🐦
Due to its isolation, 90% of Hawai‘i's plants are found nowhere else in world.🌏 Many of these species are endangered or close to extinction.💀 Every native species plays a critical role, not only in the ecosystem services they provide, but in the unique cultural and spiritual connection they give us.🙏 Bringing awareness of native plants will increase important understanding, appreciation, and respect for the Hawaiian ecosystem, history, and culture.✨
📖If you are a visitor/resident to any island, please be aware of the many ways you can help protect native species!👇
🚫Verify that the plants you buy for your yard are not invasive, plant a native species instead!
🛥️🚗When boating or going off-road, clean vehicle properly before transporting across a body of water/forest.
🥾🎒Clean boots and other equipment of plant material and pathogens before hiking in a new area.
🐍🐇Don't release live bait or exotic animals in the wild.
🚶♀️Always follow and stay on the trails when hiking
💪 Volunteer to plant native species and/or remove invasive ones. (Please consider @auwahi_forest for future volunteering/donations)
_________________________________________ *If anyone know the insect in the 3rd photo please lmk!🤔 Have no clue what species it is, but it was constantly buzzing around the tree's leaves.🍃