Last month’s bouquet from our Flower Gift Club was the Kalapana Okika Bouquet. Kalapana is the name of the town located on the South-eastern end of the island of Hawaii, which gained notoriety in 1986 when the most recent volcanic episode covered the town with lava.

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Kalapana was also the name selected by the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture in the 1980s as the first patented cultivar they released to the industry. We selected this specific Anthurium because it is known for its base color of red, its wavy shape which gives a unique appearance, its greenish “ears,” and its excellent size.

Kalapana is one of about 800 species of the Anthurium Genus belonging to the Arum family. The anthurium is native to Central and South America, but is grown virtually worldwide in damp tropical rainforest environments.

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In Hawaiian, “Okika” stands for “Orchids,” which accent and contrast with the Kalapana Anthurium in last month’s bouquet. This particular cultivar was created by the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture in the 1970s, and is known as the Jaquelyn Thomas Dendrobium. While they come in various colors and shades, the white is the most prominent.

Following are some incidentals you may not know about the intriguing Anthurium plant:

  • Anthuriums are popular as foliage plants, not just for their blooms.
  • This plant’s stem may grow to 20″.
  • All parts of the anthurium plant are poisonous. If ingested, mild stomach disorders may occur. (Keep away from young children and pets.)
  • Be cautious if you have sensitive skin, as the sap can be a skin irritant. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after arranging your stems. You may opt to wear gloves when handling.
  • The Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum), a member of the Anthurium family, is the plant with the largest inflorescence (bloom) in the world.

So what might be the perfect greenery to spotlight these two beautiful flowers? How about a fern such as the False Staghorn with its distinctive light green color, and its quirky title “fiddleheads?” These little curly-cues announce the end of the growth on each particular frond.

Also known as the Uluhe fern, it begins as a purple coil that sprouts from the ground. As it unwinds and grows, it splits into two branches (or fronds). Those two fronds grow and split again, and the rhythm of growing and splitting continues. This split growth is referred to as a “bifurcating” pattern.

Because of the way some ferns grow, they are able to crawl up steep mountain sides and literally overtake large trees. When used in conjunction with the breathtaking Kalapana Anthurium and Okika Orchid, you can rest assured they won’t overtake them… just enhance and showcase their exotic beauty.

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Amy Heydt
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