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A Day In Paradise

Orchid Garden

Wishing Well in the Orchid GardenThe Heliconia Trail ends at the Orchid Garden, which displays many distinct species. Fabulous flowers sporting every shade of pastel, including tiger orchids, butterfly orchids, and cattleyas, all populate this corner of the Garden.

The orchids on view are only a few of the estimated 25,000 known species worldwide. In addition, more than 60,000 new varieties have been created through hybridization. See our Orchid species in our Plant Database.

Bromeliad Hill

dwarf pineappleFarther along the Outer Lake Trail is a small hill covered with a vast variety of bromeliads. These plants are true tropicals, relatives of the pineapple that made Hawaii famous. There are more than 400 recognized species of bromeliads in the world, most of which originated in the South American jungle. More than 80 varieties and species are represented in the Garden.

Bromeliads are epiphytes, meaning air plants, and they rely on rainwater to provide their nutrients. Pools of water collect in the crown of the plants, along with dirt and leaves which provide additional nourishment.

You can browse the Garden's Bromeliad collection in our Plant database.

The Founders' Birdhouse

MacawsMore often than not, when you walk the Orchid Garden, the air is filled with the hearty vocalizing of macaws inside the Founders' Birdhouse. With their brilliant plumage, these South American birds enhance the Garden's tropical atmosphere. They include a pair of scarlet macaws, a pair of blue and gold macaws, and a pair of hybrid red and green rainbow-colored macaws.

The birds are named after three prominent landscape features: Ono and Mea, for Onomea Bay; Hama and Kua, for the Hamakua Coast; and Hono and Lii, for the Honolii River located in another beautiful valley near Hilo. Macaws can live for over a hundred years, and a breeding program is planned for these young birds to help insure the survival of their species.

Along the trail are several unique red sealing wax palms, so named by the British in Singapore because their trunks were the color of the brilliant red wax then used to seal important documents. A very rare tall specimen of this palm was donated to the Garden by Margaret Hirose, an ardent plant lover and long-time Hilo resident whose lifelong dream was to establish a botanical garden. A plaque in memory of the late Margaret Hirose, who also donated many other specimens to the Garden, is placed at the foot of this beautiful tree.

Along this trail you will see more than 40 species of plants.

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