Puakala – Argemone glauca

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Photo: Puakala
Puakala, our endemic prickly poppy is a study in extreme contrasts. A blue-grey plant is armored in stiff thorns; an unusual feature for mostly benign endemics. Then add the stunning beauty of most-delicate, almost transparent brilliant white petals, and you have our puakala. – Photo: Noʻeau Peralto
Photo: Puakala seeds
Puakala seeds. – Photo: Molokaʻi Seed Co.

I kēlā moku puakala, e kū maila lā.
In the puakala patch, standing yonder
[from the story of Kaʻululāʻau, in the legend of ʻEleʻio, Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, 17 October 1863] – na Noah Gomes

Photo: Puakala
Tiny seeds are beautifully sculpted, and are held in an elongate, upright, very pokey cup. Yellowish sap might be used to treat pain and toothache, but our poppy does not have opioids typical of others.

While most literature tells us it favors dry leeward regions, Noʻeau Peralto knows it well at Koholālele, Hāmākua, Island of Hawaiʻi. “They’ve [puakala] taught us important lessons about this work, and serve as an indicator of success…when we pull the “weeds” and hold the space with intention, the natives of the place will grow and flourish; sometimes all we need to do is stay out of their way…”