Saturday, April 6, 2013

F is for Flowers

Hawaii is a floral paradise, and visitors expect to see lots of flowers. 

From orchids, bougainvillea, hibiscus, protea flowers that look like they’re from outer space to fragrant tuberose, heart shaped flowers that look like they’re made of plastic (anthuriums), and all manner of ginger and heliconia, and even lavender, Hawaii is great for flowers.

Duo of red hibiscus
Heart shaped plastic-y anthurium

Plumeria, fragrant, often in leis
Orchids, unknown variety

Red and pink ginger
Bougainvillea, beautiful papery flowers.

Fragrant tuberose or pikake in Hawaiian.
Exotic, space alien lilikoi or passion flower. 

Crown flower

Frilly red lace hibiscus
Lobster claw heliconia

Flowers are also used in flower leis and in adorning the hair.

Ready to go leis, in a store refrigerated case.

Floral misconception 1: Arriving to Hawaii, greeted with a hug and a flower flei.
Reality: Lei greetings at the airport still happen, but are no longer included with your flight. Nowadays, you pay for a lei greeting.  Or if you have friends and family in Hawaii, they will often bring a lei for you, especially if it’s your first visit.

Floral misconception 2: Tons of flowers everywhere you look, growing wild. Valleys and jungles full of showy wild orchids.
Reality: Well, there are a lot of flowers here, but it's a misconception to think it's like certain places in the spring when wildflowers explode everywhere. Some places on the Big Island have a lot of delicate wild orchids, punctuated by lots and lots of greenery. Hawaii is more green and lush than floral. 

Wild orchids growing in the wilder areas of Haiku.

Floral misconception 3: Everybody wears leis and women always wear flowers in their hair.
Reality: Leis are for special occasions, though easy to obtain, even at Wal-mart or Costco! They are a major symbol of Hawaii's culture. 

In the olden days of Hawaii, women wore flowers in their hair. Now women wear blue tooth devices. I guess that’s progress. Sometimes I see women wearing foam or silk flowers, yet there is something exquisite about real flowers in a woman’s hair. This is part of the romance of lu’aus, where women, not just hula dancers, often wear real flowers in their hair.

This is Ashley, who we picked up hitchhiking one day. She's from Maui and loves to wear flowers in her hair. This is not such a common practice any more.

Flowers still play a huge role in Hawaii's culture.

Aloha and mahalo for reading!

P.S. If you are blog hopping from the A to Z challenge, please include your link if you comment! If you are having trouble commenting - please tweet me @mauijungalow and let me know which post, what device, operating system and web browser you were using so I can contact the techie people. 


  1. I have plumeria and hibiscus flowering in my garden at the moment. Beautiful flowers. I should make some leis with my daughter, I think she'd love it.

    Rinelle Grey

  2. Yes, I'm sure she would. I'm not sure how well hibiscus would work in leis - since it wilts rather fast, but the plumeria is great in leis, as you know.

  3. Oh you made me LOL so much ''floral misconceptions'' :-)) Looking forward to tomorrow's post!

  4. Beautiful flowers, I love the pictures. My favorites have to be the passion flower and the crown flower. The lobster claw is cool too. I didn't know that Hawaii was more green than floral so I learned something new. Looking forward to Sunday as a day off. I will try and do some blog hopping tomorrow.

  5. Wow, I'm disappointed. I have never been to Hawaii but if I go, I am glad for the heads up. It's sad that what has been portrayed all my life is now a thing of the past. But then again, everything has changed so much.

  6. I love the smell of ginger. After many years, the ginger in the backyard still has yet to bloom. (I'm in California). Bird of paradise doesn't make it either, although others in my neighborhood have it in full bloom. I'll be back to read more of your blog. I'm doing the AtoZ at

    Take 25 to Hollister
    Don't be a Hippie

  7. Thanks for commenting. I'll check it out! Roses often have a hard time here, but do better in CA.

  8. Ah marketing... has old roots... there's still plenty of beauty though, and maybe things you've not expected to see.


Comments are important to me, so mahalo for adding a comment! I will try to follow up when I receive one.