Thursday, May 28, 2009

Trip Report: Akatsuka Orchid Gardens, Hawaii

Last week my wife and I went on vacation to Hawaii.  I wrote two posts before leaving and scheduled them to update while we were gone, so you never even knew I was out.

On our vacation, we were on the "Big" Island (Hawaii Island) for one day, in order to enjoy the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.  Being the plant-obsessed person that I am, I did quite a bit of research before we left to find some plant landmarks to see along the way.  Hawaii is beautiful without having to stop by a botanical garden, but I wanted to make sure we visited a greenhouse or two while we there, as well as the natural roadside beauty I knew we would see.

Along the road from Hilo, Hawaii to the national park is a commercial orchid grower, Akatsuka Orchid Gardens.  I was really excited about stopping by this grower on our drive, because the website said that they have a showroom open during the day where you can view many of their orchids, and that they also allow you to wander around their greenhouses on a self-guided tour.  Frankly, I couldn't wait to do this!

And I was not disappointed.  Christie was pretty tired the morning that we flew into Hilo, so she leaned back the seat in the rental car and took a little nap while I wandered around snapping pictures of orchids for about 30 minutes or so.  Then she came in and walked around with me for another 30 minutes and helped me pick out the coolest and most affordable two plants to take home with me!

Zygonisia Cynosure 'Blue Birds' - one of the plants I brought home with me.
The color of this Zygo really caught Christie and me both.  We picked out a very healthy looking plant that had about 15 buds on it - none of them open.  By the time we got home (6 days later) there were 5 or 6 buds open.  It is a gorgeous orchid.  Like nearly all orchids in captivity, it is a hybrid.  This particular orchid is an intergeneric hybrid, which means it is a cross between two different genera - Zygopetalum and Aganisia.

Group of Masdevallias. I took home a Masdevallia velifera x. deformis, which is one of the plants in the left center, with clumps of smaller and darker leaves.
The other plant I purchased is hard to pick out in this image.  It is one of the smaller plants, with darker leaves in the left half of the image, but near the center.  The blooms are born on shorter stalks than most of the blooms in the image, but they look much the same.  It is an interspecific hybrid, which means that it was created by crossing two species within the same genus - Masdevallia velifera and Masdevallia deformis.

The rest of my pictures can be found in my album, available by clicking the image below. Enjoy!

Akatsuka Orchids


  1. Two very good choices!!

  2. Gorgeous photos! I have never seen a hot pink orchid before. I'll bet that was such fun. You will have to tell me how you carried them back....

  3. I love those Blue Bird orchids, I can see why you brought them home with you.