The Hawaiian island of Oahu is a haven for lush vegetation and flowers to flourish year-round, spreading over the rich soil and nourished by strong sun and consistent rainfall. Each island in the Hawaii chain has flowers specific to its region and culture, and Oahu is no exception. Oahu is known for the fascinating protea flowers, the state flower, hibiscus, and the island's official flower, the ilima.
The hibiscus (hibiscus brackenridgei) is a major part of Hawaiian heritage and landscape. This sun-loving flower thrives on all of the islands, and the locals have called it the state flower since the 1920s. It wasn't until 1988 that the yellow hibiscus, also called pua aloalo, was made the official state flower. In Oahu, hibiscus grow in several colors such as coral, yellow, white and pink. They are most commonly seen in gardens and parks, flourishing in consistently moist soil.
Oahu's flower is the yellow ilima (Sida fallax), and the flower is most well-known for being strung onto leis. The flowers resemble a miniature version of the hibiscus, only about 1 inch in diameter. For centuries, locals used ilima juice to promote general health and to cure certain illnesses, particularly in children or for women about to give birth.
This unusual-looking tropical flower grows throughout the Hawaiian islands but thrives on Oahu and Maui. The protea is aptly named for the Greek God Proteus who could morph his appearance at will. Over 1,400 varieties of proteas grow on Oahu and live for weeks, thriving in moist soil with partial sunshine. Popular proteas on Oahu include the Hybrid Duchess, a pineapple-shaped coral and yellow spiky round flower, and the Sunrise Pincushion, which looks just like its name.