Im going to Oahu on thursday for 11 days and was wondering if any of you have suggestions for places to visit there for a palm enthusiast?
Ive never been to hawaii but I know that the beaches should have lots of palms there.
There is a nice botanical garden in Oahu that is suppose to be a can't miss for the plant lover! Of course, you will also see tons of palms all over Hawaii, especially in the city and resort areas! The only bad thing is that it is very hard to take plants home from Hawaii. I was really only able to take the "tourist plants" (small orchids, plants mounted on lava rocks, coconut seedings, pineapples, coffee tree seedings, etc). A lot of those "tourist plants" are very over priced also!
Post some pics if you can!
there are lots of excellent gardens on Oahu! Fosters, Waimea (Audobon Center), Koko Crater and the best of all is HoOlamuhia... and there are 3 or 4 smaller ones, all worth visiting as well. Take a camera!!
of course, by far the best island to visit if you are visiting to look only at palms is the Big Island... that's where all the palm nuts have bought land (back when it was really cheap there) and there must be over a dozen incredible, jawdropping, huge estates on that island with hundreds and hundreds of super rare species not found in any botanical gardens.
Oh, by the way, I can hardly believe it, but I forgot to mention Lyons botanical gardens on Oahu, too... so there are 5 MUST SEE public palm gardens on Oahu plus all the smaller ones in the botanical garden system (some are just an acre and specialize in native palms... Pritchardias). You will be busy!!
Definitely get away from Waikiki and Honolulu and see the east side of the Island. The other guys gave you good ideas to see botanical garden, but if you like orchids, there are some cool orchid nurseries there. And as touristy and tacky as it may sound, the Polynesian Cultural Center actually is pretty interesting. Skip their "luau" dinner show in favor of the real Hawaiian food shacks and trucks along the main road. Aloha!
Def visit Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden on the windward side by Kane'ohe, they have a great collection and you can spend hours admiring all their gorgeous tropicals. Honestly, you should do a hike, and not one full of tourists. That way you can really see wild tropical flora growing free and unruly. I just got back yesterday from 11 days in Maui and visited the Garden of Eden...breathtaking...I'll post pics soon....Do not stay in Waikiki! Venture out to beautiful Lanikai Beach, Hale'iwa, explore the Ko'olaus. A good place to see nice landscaping is the south side of Waikiki, out of the tourist traps and into the residential areas of Kahala, near Diamond Head. It is VERY upscale with beautiful homes by the ocean and superb landscaping. A good place to steal ideas :) Have fun!
Thanks for the suggestions! unfortunately I will be staying with my sister who lives in Waikiki but i will definitely be purchasing a bus pass so i can travel around the island and hopefully find some seeds to bring back and grow. :)
Is anyone familiar with the regulations regarding bringing viable seeds from Hawaii into California? is it legal or do i have to be sneaky about it?
Not sure about seeds but I think you should be sneaky about bringing back seedlings.
It's super easy. Just put wrap them in dirty clothes (you'll have plenty coming from Hawaii) and put the clothes deep inside your bag. I always sneak some into California. This time I sneaked in about 10 Bottle Palm seeds. Let's see if I came germinate them.
California is super sticky about bringing in plants from anywhere. Not sure about seeds. I'd stick with seeds and do as Panamajack suggested.
There are also pre-inspected "tourist" plants you can bring back legally--orchids, hibiscus and plumeria cuttings, palm seeds, etc. They're found all over Waikiki, but you can find them cheaper in places like drug stores or bargain stores away from Waikiki.
I think that seeds should be fine, but live plants are difficult to bring. They usually open up all the luggage at the airport to look at things. I saw someone who had a few apples (the fruit, not the plant0 that had to be thrown out, but I had no problem getting the already pre-inspected, tourist plants home with me. I did get some nice butterfly gingers from those and they are actually getting pretty big this year (I think about 3 feet).
I'm retired military. I remember the USAF doing an agricultural inspection of our bags before we loaded onto the airplane heading back to the US Mainland. The one time I flew home on a commercial from Honolulu (going to Phoenix), I had to go though a much more vigorous inspection before I could enter the building to check in for my flight.
If you go to some of the orchid nurseries on the east side of O'ahu, they will ship them (inspected) to your home. There may be some other type of tropical nurseries that will do the same with plants or sell bags of inspected seeds.
When I was there in 1990, they did agricultural inspections going in and out. Hardly of the Stasi variety, so you could easily smuggle seeds.
As to where to see palms- everywhere. The average parking lot has palms that blow ours away. I went to park called Waimea Falls or something like that. It had a kitsch element, but the falls and the jungle were incredible.
I agree about the average parking lot having amazing plants! I went to a typical, non-tourist shopping center on Maui and I saw a huge, amazingly healthy row of Foxtails, plumerias, washingtonias, and beautiful rainbow shower trees among other nice plants. I think its safe to say that basically the entire state is one giant botanical garden!
you don't have to 'smuggle' in seeds... just bring them in. There is nothing unlawful about bringing in palm seeds, though they have to be cleaned (no fruit left on them- those they will make you either clean right there, or toss out). Seedlings can be brought in, too, nommally, but only bare root. However, sometimes they will make you toss them out if they suspect there could be root mealies etc. on them. You can even bring in seedlings if soil if prepared by a certified nursery (like Floribunda), which has 'clean soil' it uses for shipping (usually they do bare root, too, though).
cycad seeds might be more of a problem, but you can just call them palm seeds and that will usually be enough.