Wild Flowers in Hawaii

Hawaii is known not only for its beaches, surfing and native lifestyle, but it also has an outstanding characteristic of beautiful, lush, tropical surroundings. The wild flowers that thrive on all of the islands range from tropical trees to the native flower that is used to make the traditional leis. While there are some flowers that only grow on certain islands, there are many that flourish on all of the islands.


The yellow hibiscus, otherwise known as hibiscus brackenridgei, has been Hawaii's official flower since 1988 (and has been the unofficial flower since the 1920s). It is also called the pua aloalo. Thriving on all of the islands, the hibiscus grows in a wide range of colors such as red, yellow, orange, pink and white. It is probably one of the most well-known flowers in North America from Hawaii.

Golden Shower Tree

This wild and tropical tree can grow very large, and flowers shower to the ground when it blooms in the spring season. Also known as Cassia fistula, it looks like a weeping willow tree but has bright golden bell-shaped flowers instead of leaves. The tree emits a sweet aromatic scent when blooming.


The ilima looks like a miniature hibiscus flower and is used to make the traditional Hawaiian lei necklaces. Oahu's official flower is the yellow ilima, but it also grows in a range of colors such as coral, red and purple. The juice from ilimas are pressed out for pregnant women and the elderly to drink to promote natural strength. Ilimas are also used for decor.

Pupu Shell

The official flower of Niihau is the white pupu shell, which often grows wildly on the island's rocky shores. This delicate flower resembles a shell and grows in shades of white and cream. These are used for decor and bouquets, and sometimes even leis.

Keywords: Hawaiian flowers, flowers in Hawaii, wild Hawaiian flowers

About this Author

Lauren Wise has more than eight years' experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food, wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in various magazines, including "Runway," "A2Z," "Scottsdale Luxury Living" and "True West." Wise holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Arizona State University.