Pua Kala (Hawaiian prickly poppy)

Preferring to grow on the leeward side of islands, these beautiful native poppies of Hawaii grow in dry, sunny coastal areas and high elevations dry mountainous climate. It is the only native poppy found across the Hawaiian islands. It also is endemic to the state.

The prickly poppy lives up to its name. The plant is covered with thorns, including on its leaves and buds. The plant is toxic, oozing yellow sap if disturbed. Native Hawaiians used the poppy for medicinal purposes.

The plants I was able to photograph were growing on the rocky coast of Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park. One of them had what I think was a stripped lynx spider ambushing possible pollinators from inside the flower!

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