The Hawaii State Flower

Hawaii State Flower

Visitors to the beautiful islands of Hawaii often revel in the vast splendor of exotic plants and flowers. The most celebrated blooms in the tropical hideaway are the hardy hibiscus.

Even before the chain of islands officially became a state in 1920, Hawaii had declared the hibiscus the representative flower for the territory.

Originally, all colors of the hibiscus were included; but in 1920, the yellow hibiscus (hibiscus brackenridgei) in particular was chosen as the official state flower of Hawaii.

 Scientific Name

Hawaiians also refer to the hibiscus as the pua aloalo or ma'o hau hele.

 Geographic Origin

The state flower of Hawaii is also popular in Asia. North Korea chose the hibiscus as its representative bloom as well. In regions that practice Hinduism, the hibiscus is considered a fine offering for Lord Ganesha and the goddess Kali as well.

 Description and Characteristics

Yellow hibiscus is native to Hawaii; and therefore, they are commonly used when making leis and other island crafts. The average bloom is 4-18 centimeters in diameter. Each flower has five or more large petals and is known to draw bees, butterflies and ladybugs.

But these beauties fade fast. They bloom for only one day. Although the hibiscus was likely chosen for its beauty, the state flower of Hawaii is used in the manufacturing of many products, including:


The islanders also use the state flower of Hawaii to declare one's relationship status. When a woman wears the flower behind her left ear, it signifies that she is in a relationship. Women wearing the Hawaii state flower behind the right ear are telling the world they are single and available.

Traditionally, when a woman is interested in marrying a man, she presents him with a lei. This was an indication to the man that he should propose. However, this tradition has faded. Now when islanders marry, the bride presents the lei during the marriage ceremony. This ceremonial lei includes 50 flowers.

Cultivation and Care

While the yellow hibiscus is the Hawaii state flower, each island in the region has its own representative flower as well. Typically, workers on make special leis to welcome guests using that particular island's chosen flower.


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