Maui Attractions NewsletterEvents
Lokalia, Firecracker Plant, Coral Plant
In the mountainous areas of Mexico, where it is a native, the lokalia or "firecracker plant," is known as lluvia de coral (rain of coral) and lluvia de fuego (rain of fire) in Central America. However, it is the Spanish name which is probably the most descriptive: arête de la cocinera (cook's earrings). Its scientific name honors Dr. Alexander Russel, a British physician, explorer and plant collector who lived from 1715 to 1768. The plant was introduced to Europe in the 1830s but did not arrive in Hawaii until 1851 as part of a shipment of plants from the botanical gardens in Sydney, Australia. In Hawaii, it is called "lokalia," a transliteration of the name "Rosalie."
These plants are popular in gardens worldwide because of their ease of propagation and for their glorious display of color and their weeping habit. This tough, colorful, evergreen, ornamental shrub, which grows to about 4 to 6 feet tall, is a delicate-looking succulent plant with many slender, wispy branches that cascade out like fountaining water. (In fact, another of its names is the "fountain plant.") Its true leaves are small, scaly bracts that protrude from the stems of the flower clusters. They drop soon after forming, leaving the green, rush-like stems to do most of the photosynthesis necessary to sustain the plant. As the plant ages, the stems become tough and almost woody and shrub-like.
The plant is very adaptable and will grow almost anywhere except in extreme salt conditions. It is fast-growing and spreads quickly and needs lots of room for best results. It is often used in plantings where cascading forms are desired, or as a groundcover on an embankment or thrusting out from a rocky cliff or ledge. It is especially lovely when it is grown at the top of a retaining wall or in a high planter box where it can fall gracefully over the edge. The plantings may be used to hide unsightly areas of the garden as well. The plant also makes an exceptional plant for a hanging basket.
Lokalia will grow under both moist and dry conditions, as long as it is well-drained. The plant does require full sun to be at its best, however. When it is grown in full sun, the shrub is almost constantly ablaze with long clusters of reddish-orange tubular, inch-long flowers that hang at the branch tips. These flowers are crowned by five short lobes and resemble a coral reef polyp. They are said to attract bees, butterflies and nectar-feeding birds. An occasional pruning keeps the plant flowering. It is resistant to drought once established and is wind- and salt-tolerant as well. Although it is considered a low-risk invasive species in Hawaii, it has made a nuisance of itself in other tropical areas.
The firecracker plant is used in other parts of the world to treat malaria, cancer and inflammatory diseases. It is also said to promote hair growth as well. In Hawaii the lokalia is used in lei-making.
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Arts & Culture
Hale Ho'ike'ike, The Bailey House
Hale Ho'ike'ike, built in 1833, is the one of the most historic buildings in Wailuku. It is in the National Register of Historic Places as well as the Hawaii Registor of Historic Places. Situated on Wailuku's Main Street as it heads up to the entrance of Iao Valley, the building is on the site of the Wailuku Mission in the Bailey House and in what was the female Seminary's dining room. The mission was built on the site of the former royal compound of Kahekili II, the last ruling chief of Hawaii. It was one of the first western-style houses in Wailuku.
Originally it was intended as a mission for adults and children. However, in 1837 the mission became the Wailuku Female Seminary a boarding school for young women managed by Theodosia and Rev. Jonathan Smith Green. The students learned the three "R's," the tenets of Christianity and domestic arts.
The main part of the museum is known as "The Bailey House" because it was the home of the Edward Bailey family for 45 years. Edward Bailey and his wife Caroline sailed from Boston in 1936 with the Eight Company of American missionaries, one month after they were married. The newlyweds were stationed at Kohala in 1837 and moved to Lahainaluna in 1839 before taking over the Wailuku Female Seminary in 1840.
According to one source, the house was built for Bailey in 1841. The coral-stone and plaster walls are 20 inches thick and are reinforced by the long hair contributed by many Hawaiian women. Beams throughout the building are of hand-hewn sandalwood. The kitchen, with its earthen floor and crude fireplace was once separated from the rest of the house because it was considered a fire hazard.
Despite sponsorship by the American Board of Commissions for Foreign Missions, the Seminary closed in 1847, a victim of funding shortfalls. The house and land reverted to the Hawaiian crown, but was purchased by the Baileys in 1850. They continued to live in the house and raised their five children there.
Bailey was a multi-talented man. He was a teacher, architect, engineer, bridge builder, musician, artist, writer, botanist and healer as well as an entrepreneur. He left the mission in 1850, but for many years he helped in creating and maintaining the Maunaolu Girls' School at Makawao. Bailey was also one of the first sugar planters on Maui and built a sugar mill. He was a principal in the Wailuku Sugar Company, which was founded in 1862.
After spending most of their lives on Maui, the Baileys moved to California in 1885, where Bailey died, the last male survivor of the workers sent by the Boston mission between 1820 and 1850. The house and the Bailey sugar cane fields became part of the Wailuku Sugar Plantation, which then became part of C. Brewer and Co.
The Maui Historical Society was established in 1951 to "collect, preserve, study, interpret and share the history of Maui." They boast of being the oldest preservation and historical society on Maui.
According to the 65th annual report of the Hawaiian Historical Society which chartered all of the various historical societies in the islands: "The Maui Historical Society was founded on November 16, 1951. Though inactive from October, 1952 to February 23, 1956, it took a fresh start then and is now functioning…. The current officers of the society are: Mrs. Roy H. Savage, President; David K. Kahanamoku, Vice-President; Miss Ahia Davison, Secretary; James Y. Ohta, Treasurer; and David Kailiponi, Auditor.
"The general objectives of the society are: the collection, study, and preservation of all material pertaining to the history of Hawaii, specifically of Maui
County; the investigation and recommendation for permanent marking and preservation of historical sites in Maui County; and the cultivation of interest and knowledge concerning the history, folklore and customs of Hawaii and Maui County in particular."
Actually, there was a lot of activity behind the scenes for two years before the group was reactivated. The historical committee of the Maui Woman's club worked towards re-establishing the historical society. Plans were made to erect Hawaii Visitor Bureau warrior markers at 18 of the most important historical sites on the island, making tape recordings of historical information, the possibility of establishing and operating a museum for Maui County, and working towards preserving the old Lahaina prison built in 1851, and restoring the Halekii-Pihana Kalani Heiau in Wailuku under the direction of Dr. Kenneth P. Emory.
On February 23, 1956, the Maui Historical Society was officially reactivated at a well-attended meeting in the Hawaiian Room of the Maui County Library in Wailuku. The group tackled each of its objectives and made them happen.
The group opened their museum, Hale Ho'ike'ike (House of Display), in the old Bailey House on July 6, 1957, the 125th anniversary of the founding of Wailuku Female Seminary. The event was celebrated with a luau, Hawaiian prayers and a fashion show of the oldest and most beautiful holoku to be found on Maui.
(Use of the buildings as a museum was made possible through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. John Cushnie and the Wailuku Sugar Company. The museum stood on the grounds of the manager's home and was leased to the Society at a dollar a year. It continues there to this day. In 1991, philanthropist Masaru "Pundy" Yokouchi bought the Bailey house and donated it to the Society.
The museum is still maintained by member dues, donations and proceeds from the museum shop as well as a lot of volunteer help.)
As for the ambitious projects of the reactivated Society, they all were realized along with many others. The museum was renovated and continues to be maintained by the Society. A few of the Hawaii Visitor Bureau warrior markers that date from the early Society efforts are still extant even to this day. Both the restoration of the old prison, Hale Paahao, and the Pihana Kalani-Halekii heiau at Wailuku were accomplished with the cooperation of the territorial Commission for Historical Sites. Dedication ceremonies were held for both of those sites on November 19, 1959. Projects and programs have proliferated, but the most important thing continues to be making the museum available to the public.
According to Barbara Lyons, who wrote a report for the Hawaii Historical Review in October, 1964, "The museum's exhibits are intended to depict the life of Maui from earliest days through the nineteenth century of the Hawaiian monarchy, the missionary era and pioneer industries, to our present….to show the way in which our life of today has developed."
In addition to mission-era antiques and furniture and 19th-century paintings of Maui by Edward Bailey on display at the museum, visitors may examine the largest public collection of pre-contact Hawaiian artifacts on Maui, various displays of botanical specimens, a 100-year-old koa outrigger canoe and even a redwood surfboard used by the legendary Duke Kahanamoku. The Historical Society maintains an archival resource center which preserves maps, manuscripts and documents of various organizations and makes them available to researchers. The historic gardens feature plants typical of the missionary era as well as native Hawaiian plants.
Visit The Bailey House Museum
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Guava Glazed Chicken
- 1 lb. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
- 1 Cup Flour
- 2 Beaten Eggs
- Salt and Pepper
- Heat a frying pan with ¼ cup vegetable oil.
- Salt and pepper chicken. Dredge pieces in flour, eggs and again in flour and place in hot pan.
- Cook chicken on medium heat until golden brown and cooked thoroughly.
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp Minced Garlic
- 1 Jar Guava Jelly
- 1 Small Cleaned and Crushed Ginger
- ¼ Cup Soy Sauce
- 2 tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1 Lime, Juiced
- 2 tbsp Cornstarch
- In a sauce pan, sauté garlic in olive oil on low heat for 15 minutes.
- Stir in jelly, lime juice, soy sauce and sugar. Melt it all down to an even consistency.
- Mix cornstarch with ¼ cup cold water well. Add to sauce pan. Let simmer on high heat for 2 minutes while stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir until all bubbles have subsided. Let glaze cool down and thicken for 10-15 minutes.
- Lay chicken evenly on a pan. Coat glaze on each piece with a basting brush. Broil on low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, flip pieces and coat with glaze again. Broil on low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, flip pieces and coat before serving hot.
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