Here is a smattering of photos and names of Hawaiian flowers. This may seem like a long list, but these photos and this list of Hawaiian flower names, just barely scratches the surface of all of the dazzling flowers that grow in Hawaii. If you want to know what these flowers mean, check out my post on Hawaiian Flowers Meanings.
Anthuriums were brought to Hawaii in the late eighteen hundreds. They have taken a position of prominence in the culture here and their beautiful heart shaped flowers have become a symbol of hospitality to the whole world. Their name, roughly translated from Latin, means “tail flower.” Their spadix is the “tail.”
Bird of Paradise
Bird of Paradise flowers look like a bird in flight. They are often green, orange, yellow and blue. They look quite exotic and originally come from South Africa, though they look right at home in Hawaii.
Calatheas come in many colors, they often produce brightly colored and striped leaves and even more vividly colored flowers. Their flowers might have a passing resemblance to ginger flowers, but they are from unrelated species. They are sometimes called “prayer plants.”
Cattleyas are a type of orchid that produces very large showy flowers. When most people visualize an orchid, a cattleya is usually what they are imagining. They can come in a very wide range of colors.
Gardenias are probably originated in Africa, but they grow quite well in Hawaii, where they are known as na’u. They usually produce lovely white flowers that have an intoxicating scent.
Heliconias are sometimes called “lobster claws” and in fact red colored heliconia flowers really do look like cooked lobster claws. Though, I would not recommend eating them. They can grow to impressive sizes, sometimes up to ten feet or more and they look great in tropical flower arrangements.
The Hibiscus is the state flower of Hawaii. Though many scientists believe that it originated in Asia, it slowly spread from Asia through out the Pacific and to the rest of the world. In fact some varieties of Hibiscus are native to Hawaii. Though you might see a lot of Hawaiian post cards with red hibiscus flowers, the official state flower is the yellow hibiscus.
Most Ohia trees produce lovely red blossoms, but some produce yellow, orange or even white blossoms. The ohia tree and lehua blossoms figure prominently in a Hawaiian legend, which you can read all about on wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metrosideros_polymorpha#Mythology).
Orchids are the most popular flower in the world. They grow just about everywhere and everywhere they grow, people seem to fall in love with them. So many orchids grow on the Big Island of Hawaii that it has been nicknamed the Orchid Isle.
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Passiflora or the passion flower is the flower that is produced by passion fruit vines. Before these vines yield their tasty fruit they form lovely purple flowers that hummingbirds really seem to enjoy. They flap their wings hundreds of times per minute as they drink the sweet nectar of the passion flower. But alas, there are no hummingbirds in Hawaii.
The pink lokelani is also known as the pink cottage rose. It was brought to Hawaii in the 1800s. People on Maui really took a liking to this flower and made it their island symbol.
Red ginger plants are actually relatives of the ginger plants that are used in cooking. They produce lovely flowers that look like red pine cones or perhaps flaming red torches if you are more imaginative.
Plumeria flowers are native to Mexico but they have spread through out the tropical parts of the world. They come in many different colors like red, white, pink and yellow and they have a remarkable fragrance. They smell so good that they are sometimes used as the basis for certain perfumes.
Proteas come from South Africa and are among the oldest flowers in the world. Some say that they first originated 300 million years ago.
Silver swords are exceedingly rare and their flowers are even rarer than that. They flower only once in fifty years and after they have flowered and produced seeds they die.
Torch gingers are related to red gingers, but in my opinion they produce even more stunning flowers. They often come in red or pink and any description I could give you would not do them justice.
Yellow Ilima flowers kind of look like mini hibiscus flowers and would you know that the reason for their resemblance is that they are indeed related? They are a favorite of lei makers and they are the official symbol of the Hawaiian Island of Oahu.