Nothing Says Adventure Like Ethnobotany


  • the scientific study of traditional knowledge and customs of a people concerning plants and their medical, religious, and other uses.

Ya, I didn’t know what it was either.

Thursday Rick and I continued our Hawaiian adventure by hiking to Manoa Falls, and the nearby Lyon Arboretum.  We were both hoping for a challenging hike, but neither destination offered such.  Regardless, the company was awesome (naturally), so it ended up being more fun than is likely legal.  Despite the lack of challenging terrain, we spent the day wandering through nature (whereby day=4 hours ± ε, ε>0); clearly what we lacked in hiking intensity, we made up for in hiking quantity.

Of course, the biggest surprise of the day was realizing that I’d already hiked to the Manoa falls when I first visited Hawaii with Manon and Rob many years ago.  I’m always amazed at the quantity of information that my brain forgets; I often wonder how I remember to breathe.  Regardless, we carried on as I at least remembered that the hike was scenic, and there would be ample opportunities for hijinks (hijinks being the best type of jinks).

“What kind of hijinks?” you ask.  Well, given that we were left to our own devices in nature, I am referring to hijinks in the form of tree/bamboo climbing, random yoga poses, jump shots in all their glorious forms, and other basic ingredients required for a recipe of hilarity and awesomeness.  We provide the following photographic evidence of said hijinks:

Rick climbing in the bamboo forest. Note: those blue gloves are both functional and stylish; most excellent for gripping slippery bamboo.
My turn! Note, there was a spider right in front of my face when I got as high as I felt necessary for a good photo. And I didn't freak. Much.
It had to be done. So many branches, so little time.
One of many jump shots. This was the best in terms of form.
Best face ever.
Rick at Manoa Falls. This picture was impossible to get because of all the pedestrian traffic. Seriously people, there is magic about to happen. Get out of our way.
My homunculus - born from the wound in my head, which was clearly not a yoga war wound, but an alien implantation site. Moral of the story - Rick is an alien.

Obviously we were bordering on insanity at this point, clearly brought on by intense hunger, which was most definitely due to the ever not-so-intense hike.  Or we were just full on crazy.

After the falls we decided that since we were all science-like and full of nerdery, it was our scientific duty to explore the arboretum.  And it was a very good spur-of-the-moment science-like decision, as far as spur-of-the-moment things go.

The Arboretum. Spectacular views of the rain forest.

The arboretum was full of plants that I had never seen before, and latin terms that I didn’t understand (give me a break, I’m a statistician, not a botanist).  Anyway, the hike was full of scientific geekery, with just the right mix of hilarity.  As evidence of said geekery, Rick and I present the following geek-tastic photo, that any nerd worth their weight in NaCl would be proud of.

Rick thinks science is cool. So do I Rick. So do I.

Many photos of flowers and such were taken, but here are just a few.  If I were truly a botany nerd, you’d also be presented with proper latin names.  Since I am not a botany nerd, I instead offer my own made up latin names.  I’m sure they rival the true terms, because that’s just how awesome they are.  Or not.  Probably not.

Virginius hangupsidedownius
Staris purplius

Sparklius redis

Violetium arachnididae
Trillium mimicus

Mixed in with our hike, was the discovery of Vishnu (I think – please correct me if I am mistaken, dear readers) a standing Buddha (after some further investigation, I believe this might be a Sukhothai representation of Buddha: see this link for examples).  The garden surrounding the statue was very relaxing.  Several offerings (in the form of change) were left at the foot of the statue.  We grabbed a few photos, and then moved on.  In retrospect, this likely would have been the perfect spot for some yoga.  Next time.

We found a standing Buddha on our walk

While I missed the opportunity for yoga next to Vishnu the standing Buddha, I did manage a headstand within the arboretum that Rick caught in all its panoramic glory:

Yoga in the arboretum

We also trekked to another set of falls within the borders of the arboretum, known as Aihualama falls.  Not as impressive as Manoa falls, but we were very much the only two people there.  Awesome!

By the end of our walk, we were full of nature, the smell of flowers, and plenty of nature photos.  Thank you Rick.  You make science fun.

Rick photobombing my self portrait.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Beth says:

    Doesn’t Vishnu have many arms? Where “many” > two?

    1. dangillis says:

      I think so. And after an exhaustive search for a similar statue on line, I gave up. Note: exhaustive search = 5 minutes. I am on vacation after all 🙂

    2. dangillis says:

      After further research, I believe it was a standing Buddha. Clearly I’m not up on my religious statues.

  2. I jumped over to say the same thing as Beth. And to add that it looks a lot like the Buddhas that populate Thai temples. But you already figured that out.

    Also – the pseduo-Trillium is likely some hind of orchid. And the red flower is stunning.

    1. dangillis says:

      If I had the wherewithal while perusing the arboretum, I would have made a point to write down the names. Sadly I was too lost in the scenery. Plus Rick and I tend to goof off most of the time we are together. Regardless, they were beautiful. The red flower in particular was amazing. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. And if you can believe it, the picture doesn’t do it justice at all.

      You and Dave should make a point of visiting Hawaii (if you haven’t done so already). This is my third trip here, and I can’t wait to do another 🙂

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