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Need a Shave?

Wednesday I planned on dropping my car off at the dealership for a little TLC, so I took O’Ceallaigh to work. When I pulled into the University parking lot near OC’s lab, I saw the most incredible tree — practically leafless, but covered in bright pink blossoms unlike anything I had ever before seen.

I wanted to get out of the car immediately and take pictures. OC told me I’d better get the car to the dealership because they do business on a first come, first served basis. I didn’t stop to take photos. I also didn’t make it to the dealership on time, so I made an appointment for Friday and went to the mall and wandered around downtown a bit.

About a half hour before OC was to get off work, I drove back to the University. My camera and I had an appointment with …. a barren tree. All of the gorgeous pink flowers had fallen to the ground. Not one remained on the branches.

Friday I again took OC to work. Again when we pulled into the lot, the tree was blazing in pink glory. This time I didn’t ask OC if I had time to take photos. I knew I didn’t. My appointment was in 45 minutes and I still had downtown traffic to negotiate. So what. I parked the car, got out and spent the next ten minutes snapping photos.

These flowers are called “Shaving Brushes”. They bloom in the Spring before the leaves bud. As you can see, a bee was busy harvesting pollen.

The Shaving Brush tree is a hardwood, deciduous tree. The curled “ribbons” at the base of the flower are formed when the pod opens. These ribbons are very hard and leathery.

This last photo, like the first one, is of a white Shaving Brush Tree. If you look closely, you can see pods awaiting their turn to open. The tree blossoms every morning, and is barren by mid-afternoon to early evening.

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. Quilly, those are spectacular shots (grin), what an amazing tree – it’s quite breathtaking – I have never seen anything quite like it anywhere!

  2. Oh! WE have these trees in our back yard!!! I believe they are called Mimosa Trees — just like the champagne/juice drink! Ours don’t get that BRILLIANT – but they are very PINK – and very pretty this time of year! They grow in our woods… I was SO surprised by them the first year we lived here! They are one of my favorite “gifts” God gave me!!!

  3. OOOOPS! I just googled them both, and my Mimosa and your Shaving Brush are two entirely different trees — with very SIMILAR looking flowers — except that MY flowers are much smaller! Yours are HUGE! But they are very beautiful — both!

  4. Shrinky — I wasn’t much into photographing flora until I came to this island and found such amazing specimens!

    Melli — we have a tree from the mimosa family in our backyard, it’s casual name is Rain Tree — though I call it the Eyelash Tree because the flowers look like pink eyelashes.

    VE — this island is full of such wonders. This particular tree though, is a transplant. It’s home territory is Guatemala.

    Polona — you and your cameras want to come visit don’t you?

  5. So…… what took you to Hawaii Quilly? I haven’t seen you in a long time, I guess I missed a LOT!!! LOL
    Loverly pictures, I love flowers, that is my next post as a matter of fact! I can’t wait for them to actually arrive this year, so I’m going to revisit my favorites through pics I took last year!

  6. Beautiful shots. Your “shaving brushes” are very much like our “bottlebrushes”. I guess they’re all offshoots of the acacia tree.

    You might find some old shots of bottlebrush blooms on my blog by Google searching “The Bottle Of Britain” or simply by Googling “Authorblog and bottlebrush”.

  7. David — I found them in your November archives and the woman you challenged to paint them. We have Bottle Brushes here as well, though they are actually red. They aren’t blooming yet. I hope my camera and I are nearb y when they do. We also have the Rain Tree here, and those blossoms look to me like pink eyelashes.

    Dr. John — God was obviously feeling very colorful when he created the tropical plants.

  8. Gidday, David. Aussie “bottlebrushes” (genera Callistemon and Melaleuca are actually close kin to gum trees (Eucalyptus) in the Myrtle family (Myrtaceae). Whilst the wattles, Melli’s Mimosa tree, and our imported Rain Tree all belong to the “Mimosa” section of the Pea family.

    The Shaving Brush tree belongs to yet another group of plants, the Bombacaceae. Footnote: bombastic.


  9. Quilldancer, I’m glad you found the post on my blog – and the painting by the US-based Australian artist.

    Oceallaigh, thanks for that invaluable information. I know who to turn to for expert advice!

    Yep, I liked the footnote as well!

  10. I’m over here on a return visit, but David has put you in his post of the day, what wonderful flowers, and how sad that they flower for such a short time, beauty like that should last for ages. Thanks for sharing them.

  11. OC — love your new post on this subject.

    David — thanks for putting me in your post of the day line up!

    Mima — hi! I’ll be by to visit you when I’m exhausted from site seeing!

    Cindy — they do, don’t they? And OC won’t even try to stop me from taking photos!

  12. Those shots are brilliant! The colour is so vivid! What an amazing tree. I am so glad you stopped and took pictures. I much prefer the pink one.

    The information about the different trees in your comments from bloggers is really educational too. I really want to come see!

    Thank you for posting this. I came over from David’s. I love colourful nature. :0)

  13. Quilly, posting from The Big Island.

    CamiKaos — Thanks! I should have dozens more when I get home.

    Polona — well, you have a rent free vacation accommodation if you ever get here.

    CrazyCath — the information from that other blogger — the one named O’Ceallaigh — is actually from my mate, the botanist.

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