Photo: Nohoanu
Above the treeline ‘āina pōhaku sustains a nohoanu. Cerulean sky now clear awaits mists and fogs moisture condenses. Sliding dripping down watering small kīpuka aiding survival. – Photo: Grigory Heaton – Own work

“Kū kea i ka hulali, noho hune i ka ʻāmuʻemuʻe
Silver in shining sunlight, eking out an existence in bitter cold” – Noah Gomes

Scattered above the treeline, on ʻāina pōhaku high on Maunakea we find nohoanu (Geranium cuneatum), dwelling in the cold. An endemic geranium, ours has leaves with tiny white hairs to reflect harsh unfiltered sun rays. Lau also have several teeth at the tips. Nohoanu survives growing at, and above, treelines at 9,500 feet with its companions pūkiawe, lichens, mosses, and various ferns.

One might be tempted to use silvery nohoanu in lei, but it’s best to refrain. Very slow growth and sparse distribution make this a plant to only observe while you’re outside paying attention.

We’re often amazed at the sight of plants growing out of bare pōhaku, their roots able to work their way into rock and obtain nutrients.