Observing Lehua Lifecycles - And What I've learned about My Own Life

Lehua Blossom Lifecycle

On May 27, I started documenting the flower lifecycle of the lehua (the flower of the ʻōhiʻa tree) of our tree! With my blue painters tape in one hand and my phone in the other, I began with identifying blossoms on the tree that I could monitor easily without a ladder. I identified four ʻōpuʻu lehua (flower buds) to monitor.

As some of you may know, we observed our neighbor's ʻŌhiʻa lehua mamo (with yellow lehua blossoms) and in doing so we were able to gather ʻanoʻano (or seeds)! We haven't planted them yet! But, we intend too after we gather some seed planting tips! 

I took this picture of an ʻōpuʻu lehua (flower bud) on May 27 to document the eight stages of the lehua lifecycle. 

It took 11 days for this ʻōpuʻu lehua to move to mohala (blooming stage) and then to hōpoe (full bloom). 

Over a span of 10 days, the blossom moved from hōpoe to kukuna, which represents the stage in which only the pistil of the flower remains. The picture below was taken on June 17. At this point, I've been monitoring the blossom for 21 days.

Within another 10 day span, the lehua blossom entered into the hua ʻōpio (maturing fruit) stage. Check out this short video clip where I show the hua ʻōpio stage.

It remained at the hua ʻōpio stage for 20 days until July 15, when I noticed that it began moving into the hua phase in which the fruit reached a more mature state. 

It's been 78 days since I've been practicing kilo in my yard. I'm grateful to have the gift of our very own ʻŌhiʻa lehua tree that inspired me to begin this process. There's something about kilo (observation) that takes the mind and soul on a journey of discovery. And what's most interesting about my journey is that I received more questions than answers, and that's ok too. During this time, I've often thought about my kūpuna, especially my great grandfather, Paul Mahaʻulu (you can read more about him here), who I know spent countless hours observing his surroundings and the lifecycles of nā mea ola (the living organisms) ma uka a ma kai (from mountain to sea) as a fish and game warden for Oʻahu. 

The deeper lesson has been about identifying my own lifecycle and being able to identify and create rhythms and stages similar to the lehua that mimic nature's processes and allow me to contribute meaningfully through my work to positively impact kaiaulu (community), the world that our children will inherit. 

I'll be monitoring the hua stage and can't wait to see how long it will take to move to the ʻanoʻano (seeds) stage in which seeds will be released! What is your lifecycle and what new seeds do you want to release in the world? I can't wait to hear about your #kilojourney!