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Photo Gallery: The rainbow shower trees of Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii
If you visit Hilo on the east side of the Big Island between May and November, you will witness the spectacular annual blooming of the rainbow shower trees. It’s a stunning visual experience to see such a riotous show of colors: red, pink, yellow, orange, magenta, cream of the cascading blossoms on these trees. As the blossoms mature, their color changes from one to another, so that a blooming rainbow shower tree never looks the same. The peak flowering period is usually from June to August. The blossoms will stay on the trees until late November and as their beautiful petals fall, they blanket the streets, parks and gardens with what local residents affectionately call ‘the Hawaiian snowflakes’!
Rainbow shower tree (botanical name Cassia x nealiae) is a native to the southern Asia continent. It is a hybrid between the golden shower (Cassia fistula) and the pink shower (Cassia javanica). There are several varieties, each with different flower’s color combination, ranging from peachy pink to sherbet orange to almost pure white. The pendulous flower spikes are born along the tree branches, often in such profusion that you could hardly see the attractive dark green oval-shaped leaves.
Rainbow shower is a fast growing ornamental tree. It can reach 65 feet in height and spread out its branches like an umbrella. It is drought tolerant and grows best in hot tropical or subtropical climate. It can be easily propagated by air layering or grafting. In Hawaii, rainbow shower trees are often planted along city streets and in public parks. It is the official tree of the city of Honolulu.
RAINBOW SHOWER BLOSSOMS VIEWING
In Hilo, the best place to see rainbow shower trees in bloom is on the scenic bayfront where dozens of the trees line Kamehameha Ave which follows the shoreline of Hilo bay. You can park your car at Bayfront Beach Park, take a stroll underneath the trees for a close up look and be enthralled by the floral kaleidoscopic display above your head!
Another place to see rainbow shower trees is at Lili’uokalani Park & Gardens overlooking Coconut Island, near downtown Hilo. There are several large golden and white shower trees growing in this park as well.
OTHER SHOWER TREE VARIETY
- White shower tree produces lovely creamy white blossoms, with a hint of lemony yellow. There are several magnificent white shower trees in the parking lot across from Hilo Farmers Market.
- Pink shower tree produces large showy flower cluster that looks like a perfect bridal bouquet! You can find some of the most beautiful pink shower trees on the campus of Hawaii Community College.
- Golden shower tree produces brilliant yellow flowers spikes, dangling from the tree branches like mini chandeliers! Best place to see golden shower trees is at the Kawamoto Swim Stadium, as well as along Kamehameha Ave near Mo’oheau County Park.
ABOUT THIS HUB
The author dreams about the 'Waltz of the Snowflakes' from The Nutcraker Ballet every time he sees the fallen petals of rainbow shower blossom swirling in the wind! All photos were taken with a SamsungDigimax 301 3.2MP Digital Camera.
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Copyright © 2011 Viet Doan (punacoast)