On Tuesday the forth of January, we went to the Audubon Botanical Gardens. When we were there we saw an interesting collection of native and introduced animals. The only introduced animal was the Manaka, or Small Indian Mongoose. This mongoose was introduced in the 1880's for rat control. As always, this didn't quite go as they had wanted. Instead of killing rats, the mongoose started to eat the native birds, making it a threat. Some of the native birds include Alae'ula, or Common Moorhen, and Auku'u or Crowned Night-heron. The name Common Moorhen is actually is misnomer, because less than 500 of them exist on O'ahu and Kaua'i. Unlike the Common Moorhen, the Crowned Night-heron is perhaps the most common heron in the world. The Crowned Night-heron is mostly active from dusk to dawn, as its name implies.
One of the most interesting trees I have ever seen has to be the Cannonball Tree. This tree is native to South America. It is notable for its long round fruit. The fruit is so large and heavy and round that it looks like a cannonball. It grow right on the trunk of the tree! Two of the many things the Piper tree family produces is black and white pepper and kava (kava is a drink that is a mild intoxicant, produced locally on most of the Pacific Islands). The family comprises about 14 genera. Two of the 14, Piper -with about 1000 species- and Peperoma -with more than 500 species- are the most important.
Along one of the paths, I stared in amazement at the collection of stones that was named for the god of fishermen. The local tribes would worship at shrines like these to attract fish. I wonder if that works? I always like to learn about new animals and plants. This trip taught me a lot of new things.