Nuku ‘I‘iwi (Beak of the 'I'iwi)
Common Name: Jade Vine
Native to Filipines.
(Strongylodon ruber Vogel)
Common Name: I'iwi bill
or I'iwi vine
Endemic Hawaiian Islands
In Hawaiian the word Nuku 'I'iwi (e-e vee) or beak or bill of the I'iwi bird is used as a name for the Jade Vine, both it's blue/green imported variety and the vibrant red endemic species. The most commonly seen Jade Vine or Nuku 'I'iwi in the Hawaiian Islands is the other worldly blue/green variety that was introduced post contact from the Philippines. The endemic Hawaiian Red Jade vine is rare and is found in the upland rain forests on most of the Hawaiian Island. The Nuku 'I'iwi blossoms are about 3 1/2 inches long and grow in clusters up to 18 inches long. Typically blooming for just a few weeks between February and June, however, the vine has been known to blossom as late as November.
Jade Vine or Ka Nuku 'I'iwi as it grows in the rain forests of Hawai'i nei.
When I first encountered this rather unusual vine in the rain forest, I had no idea what it was as the color was so "unnatural". But on closer inspection I recognized the flower from the Nuku I'iwi lei which is a seasonal lei here in Hawai'i. The shape of the flower resembles the curved beak of the beautiful and precious Hawaiian Honey-creeper.
Below Left: Lei Nuku 'I'iwi ; Below Right: Ka 'I'iwi or The Hawaiian Honey-creeper
Pua Po'alima - Friday's Flower is a serial post featuring some of Hawai'i's revered and celebrated blossoms that have inspired artists, lovers, and poets in times past and today.