A Mid-Elevation Woodland and Succession on the 1974 Flow
This is a continuation of the hike organized as three web pages.
The Mid-Elevation Woodland
|This hike continues by
starting at the trail head as it enters the woodland.
The forest is dominated by the wide-ranging Metrosideros polymorpha (Hawaiian: `ohi`a). The forest trees form a continuous canopy.
You can see the leaves of this species in the abundant litter on the trail.
|The round thickenings on the leaves, which are often dark colored, are called galls and are caused by psyllid parasitism. These psyllids are commonly known as jumping plant lice. They are most common in this area (from 3,000 to 4,000 ft. elevation). There are three insect species which make these galls. These are sap-sucking insects.|
|There are also
(Hawaiian: koa) trees in this forest.
The sickle-shaped phyllodes (below left) are easily spotted when you look at the forest-floor litter.
|Look carefully near the start of the trail for Psilotum nudum (complanatum??) (Hawaiian: moa, pipi). You'll find plants growing on the forest floor or as epiphytes in the trees.|
|The soils are deep at the
start of the trail. There is considerable topography to the forest
The litter is abundant.
There is a patch of the alien strawberry (Fragaria vesca) in the background.
|Looking down the trail near the trail head, you can see the Metrosideros polymorpha (Hawaiian: `ohi`a) trees on either side of the trail, with a trail border of grasses and shrubs.|
|Dodonea viscosa (Hawaiian:
`a`ali`i) is a small shrub here. You'll recognize it by its leaf shape and
the presence of three-sided fruits.
The two pictures below are Vaccinium reticulatum (Hawaiian: `ohelo), another common small shrub. New growth at the tips of the stems of often bright red. Look for the fruits. They are round and range in color from bright red to yellow. There are remnant of the flower at the end of the fruit; this is another identification characteristic.
(Hawaiian: pukiawe) is another shrub of about the same size.
You'll see both of these species commonly occurring along the trail and in the forest as you walk through the woodland.
|Mosses grow on some of the tree trunks and fallen logs.|
|This set of three pictures
shows the view as you continue along the trail.
Notice the slow change from the closed canopy at the start of the trail to one that begins to have distinct openings (right).
Later, you will see that the general stature of the trees becomes shorter (below left).
The soils are becoming shallower as you progress, and the area is probably slightly drier, too. There is some heterogeneity in the woodland as you will see in some patches with larger or more densely spaced trees (below right).
Dodonea viscosa (Common
name: hopseed; Hawaiian: `a`ali`i) shrubs are common in the understory at
There are some dense, low growing Dodonea viscosa along the trail shown here with an abundance of leaf litter.
|The trail continues with
through a mixture of more scattered, short and tall,
polymorpha (Hawaiian: `ohi`a) trees.
The understory plants remain fairly dense.
Finally, the forest canopy opens (below right) as the 1974 lava flow is approached. The forest trees are tall, however, right up to the edge of this fairly recent flow.
|Coprosma ernodioides (Hawaiian: `aiakanene) is found creeping over the open forest floor. The black fruits are particularly attractive.|
Last Updated: 07/31/02