Did you know Hawaii has lava trees?

Thanks to @8zz8 for asking the question on Twitter, lava trees do exist on the Big Island. In fact, they’re the result of an amazing phenomenon in nature when liquid lava comes into contact with a cool, wet tree. The original tree burns, leaving behind a hollow cast.

That’s what visitors can see today at the Lava Tree State Park in Puna. Our blogger Katherine checked it out last year and wrote that it was as if the trees were “petrified ghosts.” Today, ferns and moss cover the grayish lava trees, but look closely inside, and you’ll see the detailed imprints of what used to be the tree bark.

It’s likely that most lava trees were molded from ohi’a lehua trees. They’re not only indigenous, but the shimmering red flower is also the official flower of the Big Island. Ohia is the first form of life to usually grow from hardened black lava.

The coolest lava trees are the ones below the ground. You can peer into the deep, black abyss from above, which makes me wonder how far down they actually do go. Just watch your step! They’re like hidden rabbit holes throughout the park, which has left the grounds very uneven.


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