satellite view from PMNM
E komo mai; welcome! Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is surrounded by a lei of foam in the middle of the North Pacific; it's a beautiful, special place.

Not only are there albatross on Midway, but many other interesting kinds of wildlife, both on the land and in the sea. Please enjoy exploring FOAM, an educational blog actively done while on Midway from May through August 2010. Posts are added from off-Midway, as information becomes available. If you're interested in a particular topic, please use the search box or the alphabetical list of "labels" along the left side of the blog page.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Most native Hawaiian plants don't have thorns, right?  Nobody told that to the indigenous Nohu, or Puncture (get it? get it? "puncture" means to get a hole in something) Vine (Tribulus cistoides)!!

Pretty little yellow flower, huh?  And kinda nice leaves...but take a close look at those green seed pods.  I hope the picture is big enough for you to see that those seed pods have some serious thorns.

And the picture to the right shows a close-up of the seed pods when they've dried out and turned brownish.

And the picture on the left shows what the seed pods look like stuck into the bottom of my shoes!  I got so many seeds in my shoes during my walk around Eastern Island that it felt like I had rocks attached to the soles!  Don't even THINK about going barefoot!


Susan said...

is there a way to know whether Nohu is a recent arrival to Hawaii? Maybe it hasn't "realized" genetically that it doesn't need its thorns anymore. Or, is this a dispersal mechanism, do any of the wildlife on Midway move these seeds around? Besides humans of course. Maybe humans on Midway will prevent Nohu from losing its spines since spines are still more useful than no spines?

Keith Castellano said...

My Shoes still aren't the same after those thorns. Poor Albatross who have to walk across that during their trek to the ocean.

Barb said...

Your idea that Nohu hasn't had time to genetically "realize" that it doesn't need thorns is interesting. Actually, I think I read somewhere (in J.Culliney's book, "Islands in a Far Sea?") that Nohu's thorns had a function in perhaps discouraging the huge flightless bird Moa Nui (?) from stomping on it. ??!!

Yeah, I pity the poor albatross walking around barefoot on the Nohu! Maybe Fish and Wildlife should provide shoes for them?! Seriously: I've seen 2 Laysan Ducks with holes in their foot pads; must be from the Nohu.