Melita Snowden

Written by Melita Snowden

Modified & Updated: 06 Mar 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


Hawaii's lush landscapes are renowned for their vibrant and diverse flora, featuring an array of stunning flowers that captivate the senses. From the iconic hibiscus to the exotic plumeria, the islands are a paradise for flower enthusiasts. In this article, we'll delve into 11 fascinating facts about Hawaii's remarkable flowers, shedding light on their cultural significance, ecological importance, and unique characteristics.

Let's embark on a journey through the enchanting world of Hawaii's flowers, uncovering the secrets and stories behind these botanical treasures. Whether you're a nature lover, a traveler seeking insight into Hawaii's natural wonders, or simply someone with a passion for flowers, this exploration promises to unveil the beauty and allure of the floral wonders that grace the Hawaiian archipelago.

Key Takeaways:

  • Hawaii’s iconic flowers, like the hibiscus and plumeria, are deeply rooted in the state’s culture, adding beauty and fragrance to traditional leis and landscapes.
  • Despite their origins, flowers like the bird of paradise and red ginger have found a welcoming home in Hawaii, adding vibrant colors and tropical elegance to the islands’ scenery.
Table of Contents

The Hibiscus is the State Flower of Hawaii

The hibiscus, known for its vibrant and colorful petals, holds the esteemed title of being the state flower of Hawaii. This iconic bloom, with its delicate and intricate appearance, is a symbol of the beauty and allure of the Hawaiian islands. From its role in traditional leis to its presence in gardens and landscapes throughout the state, the hibiscus is deeply ingrained in Hawaiian culture and is a beloved emblem of the islands' natural splendor.

The Plumeria is Commonly Used in Hawaiian Leis

Plumeria, with its enchanting fragrance and captivating blossoms, is a popular choice for adorning Hawaiian leis. These fragrant flowers, often found in shades of white, yellow, and pink, are intricately woven into the fabric of Hawaiian traditions and are frequently used to create stunning and aromatic leis. The delicate beauty and alluring scent of the plumeria make it a cherished symbol of hospitality and warmth in Hawaiian culture.

The Bird of Paradise is Indigenous to South Africa

Despite its association with Hawaii, the bird of paradise flower is actually native to South Africa. Its striking resemblance to a colorful bird in flight has earned it the name "bird of paradise," and its vibrant hues and unique silhouette make it a captivating addition to floral arrangements and gardens in Hawaii. This exotic bloom adds a touch of tropical elegance to the Hawaiian landscape, despite its origins lying far from the Pacific shores.

The Anthurium is Known for Its Heart-Shaped Blooms

Anthurium, recognized for its heart-shaped, glossy blooms, is a distinctive and cherished flower in Hawaii. Its vibrant red spathes and elongated, waxy leaves contribute to its allure, making it a popular choice for both ornamental displays and tropical floral arrangements. The unique form and striking color of the anthurium have secured its place as a beloved and recognizable symbol of the lush Hawaiian flora.

The Orchid is a Widely Cultivated Flower in Hawaii

Renowned for its elegance and diversity, the orchid holds a special place in Hawaiian horticulture. With a wide array of species and hybrids, orchids are extensively cultivated in Hawaii, thriving in the islands' favorable climate and rich volcanic soil. These exquisite blooms, ranging from delicate phalaenopsis to vibrant dendrobiums, are a testament to Hawaii's commitment to preserving and showcasing the natural beauty of these captivating flowers.

The Tiare is the National Flower of Tahiti

The tiare, with its intoxicating fragrance and delicate, creamy-white petals, is revered as the national flower of Tahiti. Although not indigenous to Hawaii, the tiare is deeply intertwined with Polynesian culture and is often associated with the romantic allure of the South Pacific. Its sweet scent and pristine appearance have made it a cherished addition to Hawaiian leis, infusing these floral garlands with a touch of exotic elegance.

The Heliconia Adds a Tropical Flair to Hawaiian Landscapes

Known for its vibrant and flamboyant bracts, the heliconia plant brings a splash of tropical exuberance to the Hawaiian scenery. These striking flowers, with their bold hues and dramatic shapes, contribute to the lush and lively ambiance of the islands. Despite its native roots in the tropical regions of the Americas, the heliconia has found a welcoming home in Hawaii, enhancing the visual tapestry of the archipelago with its vibrant presence.

The Red Ginger Flower is Native to Malaysia and Indonesia

Although widely associated with Hawaii, the red ginger flower originates from the tropical regions of Malaysia and Indonesia. Its striking red bracts and intricate floral structure have made it a sought-after ornamental plant in the Hawaiian landscape, adding a pop of vivid color to gardens and floral arrangements. The red ginger's exotic allure and captivating appearance have cemented its status as a beloved and iconic bloom in Hawaii.

The Plumbago is a Versatile and Resilient Garden Plant

With its clusters of delicate, sky-blue flowers, the plumbago is a versatile and resilient addition to Hawaiian gardens. This charming and low-maintenance plant thrives in the tropical climate of Hawaii, adorning landscapes with its dainty blooms and lush green foliage. The plumbago's adaptability and enduring beauty make it a popular choice for enhancing the natural splendor of Hawaiian gardens and outdoor spaces.

The Pua Kenikeni Emits a Sweet and Intoxicating Fragrance

The pua kenikeni, renowned for its intoxicating and sweet-scented blossoms, adds a touch of allure to the Hawaiian floral landscape. This fragrant flower, often used in leis and traditional Hawaiian ceremonies, exudes a captivating aroma that evokes the essence of the islands. Despite its relatively small size, the pua kenikeni's enchanting fragrance and delicate petals have secured its place as a cherished and beloved bloom in Hawaii.

The Ohia Lehua Holds Mythological Significance in Hawaiian Culture

The ohia lehua, with its vibrant red blossoms and lush foliage, holds a significant place in Hawaiian folklore and mythology. Revered for its resilience and beauty, this native Hawaiian plant is associated with the volcano goddess Pele and is often regarded as a symbol of love and passion. The striking contrast between its fiery red flowers and verdant leaves adds to the allure of the ohia lehua, making it a captivating emblem of the rich cultural heritage and natural splendor of Hawaii.


In conclusion, Hawaii is a floral paradise with a rich tapestry of native and introduced plant species. The diverse climate and fertile volcanic soil create an ideal environment for an astonishing array of flowers to thrive. From the iconic hibiscus to the exotic orchids, Hawaii's flowers captivate the senses and hold deep cultural significance. Whether adorning leis, gracing landscapes, or serving as botanical treasures, these blooms are an integral part of Hawaii's natural beauty and heritage. Exploring the fascinating world of Hawaiian flowers offers a glimpse into the unique ecosystem and cultural traditions of the islands, making it a truly enchanting experience for visitors and locals alike.


Q: What are some popular traditional uses of Hawaiian flowers?
A: Hawaiian flowers are traditionally used to create leis, which are worn for various celebrations and ceremonies, symbolizing love, respect, and aloha spirit.

Q: Are all Hawaiian flowers native to the islands?
A: No, Hawaii is home to a mix of native and introduced flower species, with many plants brought to the islands by early Polynesian settlers and later immigrants.

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