Yesterday, I took a walk out to the lava field at the back of our property to visit the beehives and to see if I could find the bees working the lehua blossoms. Sure enough, the Ohia trees were covered in lehua blossoms, covered in honey bees. Success! One of our most popular honey products is our Creamed Lehua Honey. It’s so good!
The Ohia trees are the first plants to come up in a lava field.
From its humble beginnings on a barren flow, ohia lehua, or ohia, becomes the dominant tree of the Hawaiian rain forest. This keystone species, which holds the entire forest ecosystem together, evolved in complete isolation, and occurs nowhere else in the world. The tree’s original relatives are likely from New Zealand, with the wind-borne seeds making their way to Hawaii by way of the Marquesas Islands. (Hawaii Today)
One of the things I learned today is that there are almost always some Ohia Trees in flower, all year long, so the bees in the hives on our lava field have many opportunities to work those blossoms. It’s not as seasonal as it is for most flowering trees.
Wanting a pretty blossom to go nicely next to some of our creamed honey, I picked a blossom and carried it up to the farm stand. No less than four people I passed on the short walk back said “oh, now it’s going to rain today” and I was a bit confused, totally not understanding what anyone was talking about. (I’m new! Just two weeks!)
Then I remembered the legend of Ohia Lehua and the Jealousy of Pele.
The legend says that one day Pele met a handsome warrior named Ohia and she asked him to marry her. Ohia, however, had already pledged his love to Lehua. Pele was furious when Ohia turned down her marriage proposal, so she turned Ohia into a twisted tree. Lehua was heartbroken, of course. The gods took pity on Lehua and decided it was an injustice to have Ohia and Lehua separated. So, they turned Lehua into a flower on the Ohia tree so that the two lovers would be forever joined together.
So, if you pick a blossom like I did, you are separating the lovers, and when it rains that day, it’s Lehua crying.
To be honest, it rains almost every day on the farm, at least since I’ve been here. Everyone says that it doesn’t rain every day, just almost every day. That’s good for all of our coffee trees, macadamia trees, avocado trees, etc.!