African Tulip
Size (Unframed) 18" x 14"
Finished May 2001


The African Tulip blossums grow in very tall trees here in Hawaii. It is a very unusual looking flower.  The brilliant flame-red flowers grow in clusters around the hard shell buds.  At first, I thought the buds were seed pods because they have a "shell-like" case.  But on closer observance, I realized that the flowers were coming out of some of the open "pods".  On a few, I could see the red of the flowers just starting to emerge from the bud case.  Some of the trees are over 15 feet tall and I think I've read that they can grow to 20 feet.  

It is hard to get a good photo of the flower clusters, showing the top of the flower because of the height of the trees and the fact that these flowers usually bloom quite high in the tree.  I was able to photograph the top of several blossum clusters along Mamalahoa Highway because the trees were downhill from the highway so I was able to look down on the flowers.  

I took a little "artistic license" with the coloring on the leaves.  The actual leaves of this tree are probably a little deeper green than I have painted them.  

When I sent a few files of the photos I had taken of these flowers to Marci Blattenberger, my partner in PPIO, she said they look like "alien flowers".  I would tend to agree.

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