Most of my work in Waikiki was on-site, coordinating installation and making sure that all the plant material was acceptable for installation. But on Friday, I was able to spend the day with the landscape contractor, visiting various plant nurseries on the island. I was to inspect the plants that had been tagged for our installation as well as look for some additional plants to use.
Spending a day walking around plant nurseries in the company of someone who could answer me knowledgeably every time I pointed at something and said "What's that?!" is pretty much my idea of heaven (or at least one of them). It was a great day.
We started out heading to nurseries in Mililani Town then headed north to Wahiawa. I'll spend a few posts sharing pics of the plants I saw during this excursion. First up, Cycas circinalis or queen sago.
Most people probably know the king sago (Cycas revoluta), though I like this plant more; the leaves are much less spiny and the long, feathery fronds are quite beautiful in the sun. The term cycad refers to the plants in the Cycas genus as well as all plants in the Cycadophyta division. They are generally all living fossils and have a fossil record that dates back to the Early Permian Period, 280 million years ago. Cycadaecae family plants are somewhat younger, having only existed for the past forty-odd million years - their earliest fossils have been found in China and Japan. The earliest human documentation of Cycas occurred in the 9th Century, when Arab naturalists noted its use by Indians to produce flour.
The specimens at this nursery have been 'limbed up' to show the plant's trunk. Our plan for the site (these were tagged by our consultants) will be to let the lower fronds stay put, giving an overall effect of a feathery, floating plant. However, I have to say there's some profound beauty in the shadows that are cast by these leaves.