Hawaii EcosystemThe Hawaii Ecosystem
Ecosystem of Hawaii
Like the arid forest, they are often dominant by the omnipresent metrosideros poly-morpha (Myrtaceae) and can have treetops up to 20 m high. The large variety in metrosideros poly-morpha with a leaf color from deep, greens, grey to pale greens and blossoms that differ in color from purple to pale corals has resulted in the identification of a number of species
Others are characterized by a multitude of endemites such as Antidesma platephyllum (Euphorbiaceae), Bobea timeonioides, Hedyotis terminis, Psychotria hwaiiensis (Rubiaceae), Pisonia sandicensis (Nyctaginaceae) and Tetraplasandra hwaiensis (Araliaceae). Most of the subterranean stocks are also indigenous to the relatively unspoilt populations. The most common indigenous bushes are Cyrtandra platephylla (Gesneraceae), Dubautia scarabra (Asteraceae), Hedyotis heillebrandii ( "Rubiaceae"), Lysimachia heillebrandii ( "Primulaceae"), Myrsine sandwichesis ( "Myrsinaceae") and Vaccinium dentatum/Erikaceae.
They are also abundant in fern trees with types such as the indigenous Cibotium hemwaiiense (Dicksoniaceae) and high growth fern trees of the indigenous Sadleria type such as S. cyatheoides and S. pallida (Blechnaceae). Among the many smaller native fern are Athyrium mikrophyllum (Athyriaceae) and Ctenitis rubiginosa (Dryopteridaceae). The vine is relatively abundant in several indigenous Lamiaceae endemics, among them Phyllostegia Vivita and Stenogyne Robosa, and the Clermontia Campanulaceae bush, while the abundant epiphyte plant life comprises the Liliaceae astelia and a large number of film fern.
The low-lying arid forests, in which the metrosideros poly-morpha (Myrtaceae) usually grows but only predominates in Hawaii, can be found on all major isles up to an elevation of about 1500m. Crown heights vary between 4 and 20 metres, and except for the typical endemics Erythrina sandwichsis (Fabaceae), Euphorbia haleeleana (Euphorbiaceae) and Reynoldsia sanddwicensis (Araliaceae), all the trees and shrubs are periwig.
It seems that the variety of these woods correlates with the best geological example of the older Kaua'I and O'ahu, while the Hawaiian example is relatively desucker. Further important tree species are the indigenous Colubrina oppositifolia species (Rhamnaceae), Diospyros sandwiensis (Ebenaceae) and Nestegis sandwiensis (Oleaceae), each of which can predominate by area.
Only a few relics of this once extended system of forests have survived in which many other native BioProvinces such as Alphitonia and Antidesma pulpatum (Euphorbiaceae), Bobea sandwiensis (Rubiaceae) can be found, Carpentiera hamovata (Amaranthaceae), Gardenia brighamii (Rubiaceae), Kokia Drynarioides (Malvaceae), Rauvalvia Sandbicense ( "Apocynaceae"), Santalum Elipticum (Santalaceae), Sapindus Oahuenensis (Sapindaceae), Xylosma Hwaiiense (Flacourtiaceae) and Zanthoxylum Dipaetalum (Rutaceae).
Some of these woods are somewhat open with a grass-covered soil but where there is a covered area, there are many underground plantations, among them many indigenous bushes such as Delissea Campanulaceae (rhytidosperma) and Gossypium malvaceae (tomentosum). Epiphytics, on the other side, are frightening, but there are some indigenous vines like Alyxia oliveiformis (Apocynaceae) and Bonamia menziesii for example (Convolvulaceae).
However, the predominant shrub compositions may also vary from place to place, but may also comprise Dodonaea viscosa or one of several native Wikstroemia types such as W. monocola, W. ohuensis, W. phillyreifolia or W. sandwichsis (Thymelaeaceae), or various Bidens endemics such as B. Menziesii sub-spectivemenziesii ( "Asteraceae"), or more in rare cases the native Sesbania Momentosa (Fabaceae).
Further autochthonous plants are bushes or small tree like Artemisia Australianis, Dubautia linealis, Wilkesia grammoxiphium (Asteraceae), Chamaesyce ceelastroides (Euphorbiaceae), Santalum elephticum (Santalaceae) and Sophora Chrisophylla (Fabaceae). The soil vegetation may contain various grass types such as the Eragrostis varablis (Poaceae) and various herb endemics such as the glaucae and the Asteraceae, while the few climber or vine types may contain the endemics Sicyos sachycarpus ("Cucurbitaceae").
The woods overlooked by the indigenous acacia coa ( "Fabaceae") range from an elevation of about 300 metres in the plains to about 2,300 metres, where subalpine temperatures are cold. Caccia coa is part of a largely Australia group of acacia trees whose blades are actually oblate or phyllodenic.
They have the pinnate foliage of acacia, but these fall off and are substituted by phylloden when the forest is growing. The fact that the nearest surviving relation of Acacia A. is A. heteroophylla, which was found on the island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean, is of significant interest to phytogeographers. Others, often associated with acacia coa, are a significant number of native plant types such as Bobea élatior, Psychotria Mariniana (Rubiaceae), Diospyros Hilelbrandii (Ebenaceae),
Shrubbery includes endemics such as Boehmeria granis, Pipturus albumidus ( "Urticaceae"), Broussaisia arguta (Hydrangeaceae), Cyanea angustifolia, Rollandia llanceolata (Campanulaceae), Phyllanthes disctichus (Euphorbiaceae), Scaevola gudichaudiana (Goodeniaceae) and Wikstroemia odahuensis (Thymelaeace). Among the few grapevine specimens are Oplismenus Hirtellus, Pospalm Obiculare and the indigenous Carex Waahuensis (Cyperaceae). It also seems that there are few epiphytical or climbers, but these may for example comprise the primal Psilotum naturum, the indigenous climbers Canavalia galata (Fabaceae) and the native Clermontia kakeana (Campanulaceae) epiphytical bush.
Regularly covered in mist, these woods constitute a girdle that extends from an elevation of about 1000 metres to the top cloudy border of the Tradewind invasion at about 1900 metres and is usually made up of knotty and atrophied shriveled structures surrounded by moses and lichen. In this BioProvince the Dicranopteris is missing from the area.
As so many of the Hwaiian woods, the metrosideros poly-morpha (Myrtaceae) is one of the most important species of tree, while other important species are the metrosideros poly-morpha (Fabaceae), Cheirodendron fauurii, C. Trigyynum (Araliaceae), Hedyotis terminis (Rubiaceae) and Myrsine lestiana (Myrsinaceae), but the real tree species vary from isle to isle.
It also gives a good presentation of coprosma (Rubiaceae) and pelea (Rutaceae) endemics inclusive C. elpptica, C. cauensis, C. ohracea, C. publishens, C. rhynchocarpa, C. Other interesting features are the typical tree fern with types such as Cibotium Glaucum and C. Camissoi, while the other interesting ones are the typical tree palms Cyanea Campanulaceae and the huge Rumex Giantus polygonaceae.
Also the bush stratum is very species-rich with about three time as many as in the arid forrests. Endemites such as Cyrtandra paludosa (Gesneraceae), Touchardia Latinifolia, Urera Gliabra (Urticaceae) and Vaccinium Calycinium (Ericaceae) are among these. Most of the land is covered with indigenous fern like Dryopteris Wellichiana, while the distribution of the floral flora comprises endemic flora like Carex Cyperaceae, Juncaceae, Lamiaceae and Phyllostegia Macrophilla.
Among the grapevines and climbing plants are the native Stenogyne kalaminthoides (Lamiaceae) and Vicia manziesii (Fabaceae), and there are several indigenous vine species such as Embelia Pacifica (Myrsinaceae), Labordia Hellymifolia (Loganiaceae) and Smilax melastomifolia (Smilacaceae). Most of the flora consists of a mocky array of sedge, mostly Rhynchospora Iavarum and the Oreobolus Furcatus (Cyperaceae), and sphagnummoos, but may also comprise other endemics such as Carex Montis-Eeka (Cyperaceae) and various weeds.
The Mauna Loa silver bog, for example, contains the silver bog Argyroxiphium kauenseend ( "Asteraceae"), while the Maui bog contains the close related, indigenous Argyroxiphium grys. They are missing in the swamps of Kaua'I, but here one finds the candelabra-like indigenous Lobelia Kauensis (Campanulaceae), while the indigenous Lobelia greyana is growing on the edges of certain Haleakala swamps.
The other moor endemites are the special Plantaginaceae ( "Plantago krajinai") with its large, woolly, deep veins. This open savannah-like community, domiciled by Myoporum sandwichesis and the indigenous Sophora srysophylla ("Fabaceae"), is mainly found in Hawaii, but there are some in eastern Maui. In Hawaii they are mainly found on Mauna Kea and to a smaller degree on Mauna Loa and Hualalai.
The associated saplings are the indigenous Chamaesyce olowaluana (Euphorbiaceae) and Santalum haaleakalae (Santalaceae), although many of the saplings are very bushy. Much of the associated bush and soil layers are found under tree cover, especially under sophora where they profit from "mist drops". Among these are indigenous bushes such as the Chenopodium Óahuense (Chenopodiaceae), Geranium Arboreum (Geraniaceae), indigenous plants such as Hesperocnide Sandbicensis ( "Urticaceae"), Sanicula Sandbicensis ( "Apiaceae"), and the indigenous grape Stenogyne Mikrophylla (Lamiaceae) hanging from the growth.
Over the Metrosideros treeline at approx. 2200 metres the weather is drier, as the moist Passat wind does not ascend over the hills but is diverted sideways. Hawaiian and Maui woods therefore give way to savannahs or parkland and meadows, but above or mixed with them are heathlands predominated by microphyllic or sclerophyllic sorts.
It is the principal bush Styphelia dameiameiae, but it can be accompanied by various types of endemics such as Coprosma mytana ( "Rubiaceae"), Dubautia diliolata ("Asteraceae"), Geranium buneatum ("Geraniaceae") or Vaccinium recticulatum ("Ericaceae"), according to its area. Among the bushes the eagle fern Pteridium aculinium variable discomposite, together with several native plants such as Deschampsia subigena, Panicum 10uifolium and Trisetum Glomereratum (Poaceae) can occur.
These vegetations are limited to East Maui and Hawai'i at an altitude between 3000 and 3400 m. In additon to low rainfall, this area is also characterized by freezing temperatures, which can also appear in summers. One interesting feature of the plant life is that a relatively high percentage of crops with affinity to US plant life is Indomalese, rather than most of the lowlands.
Among them are several endemics of Asteraceae such as Argyoxiphium sandicense, Dubautia arborea, D. manziesii and Tetramalopium humanile and the indigenous Silene struthiolides (Caryophyllaceae), which are all undergrowth. Much of the bio-province's precipitous rocks are almost free of vegetation, except those found in crevasses such as Fimbristylis corymosa and the Hedyotis endemics of Rubiaceae, along with the peculiar indigenous Brighamia imignis (Campanulaceae) with its straight, juicy strains.
Baerhavia ocutifolia, Sida fallax and the Jacquemontia convalifolia (Convolvulaceae) are widespread on the tufa or decaying volcanic seabed, while other types such as the scarce globular Schiedea (Caryophyllaceae) are limited to O'ahu. The flora on the calcareous banks (raised wall reefs) is very diverse and comprises typical Lycium sandwichsis, Portulaca Iutea, Sesuvium portucastrum and the two indigenous bushes Chenopodium aahuensis ( "Chenopodiaceae") and Capparis sanwichiana ( "Capparaceae") - the latter produce lovely night-active flores.
On the way to the beaches there is the kosmopolitan Ipomoea pes-caprae together with Boerhavia reppens, Reichardia pyroides, Vigna marine and some other perennials. The adjoining sanddunes, however, offer a living space for a rich variety of biodiversity. There are several types that can bond or stabilise sands, among them Heliotropium abnomalum, Vitex ovata, Squevola tacada, Sporobolus virginicus und the indigenous Nama sandicensis (Hydrophyllaceae) and Sesbania Momentosa (Fabaceae).
Most of the sands consist of reef remains, but in Hawaii there is also dark vulcanic sands, which have a very bad vegetation mainly consisting of ivomoea pes-caprae. After all, it may come as a surprise that there were no mangrove trees in the Hawaii islands before the advent of several types of rhizophoraceae at the beginning of the last millennium.
Coastline grasslands, predominated by the Eragrostis variableis (Poaceae) endemics, are found on all the major isles, but only on the North West islets. Further indigenous species are various bushes such as Achyranthes spendens (Amaranthaceae) and Solanum selsonii ( "Solanaceae") and the climbers Sicyos Maximoviczii (Cucurbitaceae).
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