Hawaiian Culture, Hawaiian Flowers

7 Iconic Tropical Flowers That Will Make You Think of Hawaii

Hawaiian Plumeria

7 Iconic Tropical Flowers That Will Make You Think of Hawaii

7 Iconic Hawaiian Plants That Will Put Hawaii on Your Mind

Different flowers capture the romance and tropical beauty of The Big Island. Here are 7 iconic Hawaiian plants that will put Hawaii on your mind.

What makes you think of the tropics? Are you dreaming of a trip to Hawaii, or reminiscing about your last visit?

The islands are paradise, and the vast species of flora that grow in the state makes it hard to choose only a few that remind you best of Hawaii.

Yet some native Hawaiian flowers are iconic and you won’t forget them no matter how long ago your trip was. Here are the 7 most memorable flowers from Hawaii.

1. Hibiscus – The Most Iconic Native Hawaiian Flowers

These giant flowers come in all different colors, so they’re perfect for any arrangement because you can match your other decor. The yellow version is the state flower of Hawaii, so you’ll think of the state and your tropical vacation whenever you see them.

With many breeds to choose from, these can be annual or perennial. They grow on trees or shrubs, and can be very tall if you take good care of them. You’ll recognize them by the large stamen and small number of graceful petals that adorn each blossom.

Some breeds get used to make a fragrant tea, which you can serve hot or cold.

2. Orchids

Again with many types of breeds, these fragile flowers are called okika in Hawaiian.

These elegant blooms make great gifts, and they’re often sold with a thin stake to help the stems stay upright. Most blooms have one stamen, although the original flowers had two or even three.

The petals can be all different colors, and often times are speckled. These plants need lots of water, but you need to let them dry out before you water them again or they can develop root rot.

You can also add fertilizer or plant food specific to orchid growth.

3. Plumeria

While these Hawaiian flowers are widespread through other tropical regions like the Caribbean, they’ll bring back lots of memories of Hawaii because they’re ubiquitous on the islands. They’re called melia in Hawaiian.

A typical plumeria bloom has five pink petals with yellow edges. They’re a small flower. They smell the best at night time because that’s when moths come to pollinate them, but they smell delightful during the day, too.

You’ll find other colors, too, like white and orange and even purple flowers. The trees they grow on can get up to 40 feet tall if they’re flourishing.

4. Jasmine

Here’s another flower that you may have seen in a tea. The Hawaiian word for the bloom is pikake. There are many species all around the world, but the most iconic blossom is white, with tiny flowers that grow in a bunch.

The petals are long and pointy, and you might recognize them from a lei you had at a traditional luau. These and other native flowers get combined to make the iconic necklaces or headdresses that are part of the ceremony.

5. Maui Rose

This is the flower for the island of Maui on Lei Day. Also called Lokelani in Hawaiian, often these gorgeous pink blooms get worked into a lei with other blossoms.

Each island has a specific flower assigned to it for Lei Day. Each island elects a court with a king and queen to help celebrate the native culture of the islands. Kauai chooses a fruit to make their leis from.

Niihau uses a pupu shell, and Molokai uses kukui. Each flower or item is the color that’s assigned to the island (for example, kukui is green and Molokai’s chosen color).

6. Bird of Paradise

The middle of the flower looks like there’s a blue or purple bird launching itself into the air. You can almost see a beak and a crest in the shape of the flower.

These blooms are an iconic tropical flower that are sure to make you think of The Big Island and your visit there. They grow in warm climates with lots of rain. The outer petals are yellow or orange, and they surround the inner bloom that resembles the bird.

The plants are perennial and also grow in temperate climates, like South Africa. You might also have heard it called a crane lily.

7. Gingers

The flowers of this can be many colors, and you might be surprised to learn that these are what you saw on your visit to the Hawaiian islands. While ginger roots are a familiar sight, in particular if you cook a lot, the flowers aren’t as recognizable.

The blooms are often white, but you might have seen blue or purple or even pink or yellow ones, too. The butter-colored stamens are long and stretch out far past the petals.

Ginger root and ginger tea can soothe an upset stomach. In fact, ginger suckers or candies get marketed to pregnant women to help with morning sickness.

Powdered ginger makes every fall baking experience better, including pumpkin pie and other spicy cakes and cookies.

On your strolls through beautiful gardens in Hawaii, or cruises through the jungle, you probably saw ginger plants and flowers. The good news for you is that you can grow this inside your home, even if the weather in your climate isn’t the right zone for growing them outdoors.

Tropical Beauty You Love

These beautiful native Hawaiian flowers are destined to be the best reminders of the Hawaiian islands. Whether you’re still planning your first trip, or you already had a romantic getaway, these blooms are beautiful iconic symbols of the island state.

You can cultivate hibiscus, jasmine, orchids, and many others at home to help bring back the sweet memories.

For other info on the romantic flowers of Hawaii, read more of our blog.