THE SUB-ALPINE ZONE
Open woodland/shrubland is found at the lower elevations of this zone,
because it receives more rain than higher up and supports more trees and
shrubs. It is dominated by mamane , (Sophora, ) a native legume tree with
yellow pea-like flowers, and naio (Myoporum, ) a large shrub with glossy
green leaves and small white flowers. A'ali'i (Dodonaea) is common, as
are tussock-forming grasses.
Common in the sub-alpine zone is Sophora chrysophylla, called mamane in Hawaiian. It is an important food source for birds in this zone, providing nectar, pollen, fruits,flowers and leaf buds. The photo on the left is by Charles Lamoureux and that on the right by Priscilla Millen.
Photo above by Priscilla Millen. Right by Charles Lamoureux
Myoporum sandwicense, or naio, is an indigenous plant found in this vegetation zone, as well as many other zones. It is found in the Leeward Islands all the way to Hawai'i. It is thought to be dispersed by both insects and birds.
Photos by Priscila Millen
Dodonaea viscosa, called 'a'ali'i in Hawaiian, is another plant in the subalpine zone. It is an indigenous plant found in many other zones as well. Like 'ohi'a lehua, it is polymorphic, having many different shapes and colorations in different locations.