Ohia lehua is superbly adapted to the volcanoes in Hawaii. It is among the first plants to colonize a new lava field and can sprout in cracks between lava rocks where moisture collects. It can also tolerate sulfur dioxide emissions from the volcano.
Red Lehua flowers burst into bloom at an active steam vent in Kilauea Iki Crater in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Ohia lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha) can tolerate volcanic conditions that kill other plants.
The seeds of ohia lehua are tiny. They are carried by the wind, blown across the lava field and often fall into cracks between lava rocks where moisture collects. Ohia lehua, ferns and ohelo are among the first plants to colonize a new lava flow.
Lehua blossoms bloom at the foot of smoldering Puu Oo as it spews sulfur dioxide into the air near the Napau Crater Trail in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.