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“Rescuing Hi’ilani” – Natural Beauty of Hawaii – the Botanical Edition – Part 1

Operation Alpha – Susan Stoker – Stoker’s Aces

Coming in 2019 – Rescuing Hi’ilani – part of Susan Stoker’s Operation Alpha Imprint

One of the best things about living in Hawaii is the abundance of natural beauty that surrounds us. I want to showcase some of the plants that make me smile. For some it’s how it looks. Some, how they smell. How they taste. And yes, some a combination.

The first plant mentioned in the story are lau’ae (lah-oo [glottal stop] ah-eh)ferns. In most cases, I can smell lau’ae before I see it. Flat ferns that grow directly on the ground, they make a delicious ground cover and you can usually find them lining walkways, patios/lanais, and under taller plants in gardens. A nose full of this scent can make me relaxed and happy. When asked to describe the scent, I always say ‘clean and cool.’ People give me the ‘what’ look and then after they smell it they nod and smile. “Ohhhh.” Maybe they’re just making me happy, but it’s all I can come up with until you actually smell it yourself.

The next are croton plants. These have a ton of varities that you’ll see all over. Colorful and a feast for the eyes. You can have them with big flat leaves, long curled leaves and everything in between!  I haven’t found one with a scent but the wild color variations are meant for staring at and infusing a garden with color. I prefer the ones with a fire-like coloring and while I grew up around bushes with mid-sized flat leaves, I’ve now developed a love for the curly leaves that give the plants a visual movement.



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