Saturday, December 18, 2010

Where the lava meets the road

At the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, we learned in volcano class that the first plants to emerge after a lava flow are ferns.  Where the lava meets the road ferns now grow.

My husband and I followed the Chain of Craters Road and were amazed that land as far as the eye could see had been covered by lava at one time.  And, at each stop, we saw ferns growing.  I don't understand how ferns can grow in cracks of lava rock but not in my suburban garden in the Kansas City area.  Maybe it has to do with the amount of rainfall in Hawaii.  The day we visited the volcano it rained the whole time.  But, since it was volcano day on our schedule, we made the most of it as did the other visitors.  And, we didn't let a road closed sign stop us from exploring.


Though I was prepared for the weather, I wasn't prepared for the plants we saw on this journey.  

It was fascinating to see palm trees growing where lava once flowed into the ocean.  

In this same area of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park along the sea cliff is the Holei Sea Arch. 
Back to the plants in the area; here's a few of the ones we saw at the park and some photographs of the Kilauea Caldera:


Bamboo Orchid

Beach Naupaka

'Ohi'a lehua

The Hapu'u ferns are just spectacular.  I remember seeing large ferns in the Jurassic Park movie and thinking they must be fake.  Guess not.  These ferns can grow as tall 40'.  There is a section between the Crater Rim Drive and Chain of Craters Road where the road is lined on either side with Hapu'u ferns.  Of course, we had to find a place to pull over for a picture. 

One of many steam vents
Edge of the Kilauea Caldera
Steam from the volcano during the day

Volcano glow at night


  1. Wow - how interesting about the lava and the ferns! I learned something new! I've never been to Hawaii, but always wanted to go - now, even more so after seeing your photos. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Kate, thanks for writing. I am so thrilled the opportunity came my way to go and hope there is a next time. A next time with more time for strolling along the beach. There was so much to see and do on this trip. Stay tuned for more blogs on Hawaii and the plants!