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Thread: Pu'u Kukui Watershed Preserve

  1. #1
    Class 5 Nepenthes hoarder lance's Avatar
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    Pu'u Kukui Watershed Preserve

    Hello everyone.
    While in Maui, I was able to get ahold of an opportunity to climb up the west Maui mountains while traversing through the Pu'u Kukui Watershed Preserve. The area is the only known place on Maui where sphagnum exists in the large number of bogs that are shrouded in clouds for almost every day of the year. The area receives an average of about 388 inches a year, which means every month the reserve keepers must hike up the boardwalk to empty out the water gauge (3 feet in height). We were also required to pick up invasive weeds along the way. I would like to give a big thank you to Kulamauiman for letting me know that this spectacular place exists! Now, for the photos. . .



    DSC01596 by lance Plater

    Shortly after we started, I spotted this guy hanging above us! I really wish I could have gotten a better picture then just a blur, but every time the camera began to focus his abdomen would swell in size making it very difficult to focus. Natural defense FTW!



    DSC01595 by lance Plater


    DSC01589 by lance Plater


    DSC01583 by lance Plater


    There was quite an abundance of moss on the trees. While we were pulling out invasive weeds, it became impossible to get a foot holding on any trees due to the 1 ft. thickness of the moss.



    DSC01578 by lance Plater


    The 10 mile boardwalk was quite an engineering feat. Construction began in the late 90s and took 7 years to construct. As you would imagine, there were quite a number of steps as we ascended the knife ridge that leads up to 'bog 1'.



    DSC01496 by lance Plater


    DSC01509 by lance Plater


    Trail marker tree put in place by T.J. Fleming in the late 1940's.



    DSC01446 by lance Plater



    DSC01578 by lance Plater


    Yoda lives here


    DSC01532 by lance Plater


    The water gauge


    DSC01512 by lance Plater



    DSC01508 by lance Plater



    DSC01485 by lance Plater


    Moss acting as a soil for ephites. . . there were a lot of them!


    DSC01447 by lance Plater


    Approaching bog 1. . . we finally entered the cloud layer.


    DSC01569 by lance Plater


    Tiny waterfall in the distance. . .


    DSC01539 by lance Plater


    Now it's gone



    DSC01526 by lance Plater

    bog 1... made it!
    Kahi and everyone else standing up on the bog platform. . .


    DSC01556 by lance Plater

    SPHAGNUM!!! Sorry for the poor quality pictures, my hands were trembling with excitement. I'm happy to report that the Sphagnum population at bog 1 is doing considerably well .



    DSC01564 by lance Plater



    DSC01562 by lance Plater



    DSC01561 by lance Plater


    Upon closer observation it appears that there were two species of Sphagnum: your usual green stringy head kind and a red/yellow species with small compact heads. Can anyone ID the yellow sp. above?


    DSC01560 by lance Plater



    DSC01558 by lance Plater

    Some random bog plant. . . looks familiar


    DSC01557 by lance Plater


    Anyways, that about sums the whole trip up. It started raining (of course) so we had to go back to a lower altitude for cover and eventually we started to head back. I hope everyone enjoyed the pictures .


    In addition to growing plants, I design and build RC planes powered by Tesla batteries. Check out my progress at www.chargedplanes.com

  2. #2
    kulamauiman's Avatar
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    the random is, i think, a member of the plantago family. there are many species of endemics in Hawaii, getting to be very rare and difficult to find...

    http://www.botany.hawaii.edu/faculty/carr/plantago.htm

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    mcmcnair's Avatar
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    Nice pictures Lance! Makes me want to go! The sphagnum species you encountered were likely the same species. Sphagnum in the wild often forms tight clumps that don't look stringly like the ones most people have because we usually lay the whole strand on its side to promote offshooting. If you let it grow long enough it will form heads just like that.
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    Keith's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing! Are those little butterworts I spy in the 3rd closeup of the sphag?
    My Grow/Want Lists
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    Class 5 Nepenthes hoarder lance's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shortbus View Post
    Thanks for sharing! Are those little butterworts I spy in the 3rd closeup of the sphag?
    Actually, it's a vine of some sort that traverses the whole length of the bog. I thought it consisted of butterworts at first until I tok a closer look .


    Nice pictures Lance! Makes me want to go! The sphagnum species you encountered were likely the same species. Sphagnum in the wild often forms tight clumps that don't look stringly like the ones most people have because we usually lay the whole strand on its side to promote offshooting. If you let it grow long enough it will form heads just like that.
    Thanks!! I was a little shocked when I saw the different strand formations with the same head shapes.


    If anyone happens to visit Maui in the future don't forget to give these guys a holler on their Facebook group to see if they're doing any weed-picking expeditions while you're there. As Kula mentioned a lot of the indigenous species are endangered or are in serious harm. The invasives don't have many natural threats (or none at all) and completely mess up the symbiotic relationships that certain indigenous species have with each other. The most concerning threat is the invasive snails which eat the native snails which eat the mold on the tree leaves. Luckily 'snailers' (snail experts) have been visiting the island recently to make sure that snail jails are built to help with the situation.


    In addition to growing plants, I design and build RC planes powered by Tesla batteries. Check out my progress at www.chargedplanes.com

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