Down in the valley

An ‘ohi‘a lehua tree peeks over the cliffs at Kalalau Valley lookout atop Koke‘e State Park on Monday. The Hawaiian tree, endemic to the six largest islands, is known for its brilliant and fiery red flowers. But as this picture shows, the tree’s shoots also display a beautiful range of colors. Old Hawaiian tales say that young lovers ‘Ohi‘a and Lehua were separated by volcano goddess Pele, who turned ‘Ohi‘a into a tree after being rejected. Out of pity, Pele turned Lehua into a flower. It is believed that picking a flower causes rain, because it separates the lovers and makes the skies drop tears.

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