Hawaiian Flower Identification Guide


Located in the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii is a chain of islands with a state flower as well as flowers representative of all the islands in the chain, according to the Aloha Hawaii website. These flowers are used in traditional flower necklaces, known as leis. They have also become representative of the island state for the rest of the world.

Yellow Hibiscus

Yellow hibiscus is the state flower of Hawaii and is known around the world as a Hawaiian symbol. This large flower can be identified by its bright, yellow blooms. The yellow hibiscus, also known as pua aloalo, is one of only five types of hibiscus native to Hawaii. It blooms with large flowers with large, flat petals that open to form a nearly circular shape. The long pistil extends from the center of the bloom and there is sometimes a deep red color at the throat. The hibiscus was adopted by the Hawaiian territory as its representative flower. In 1988, Hawaii adopted the yellow hibiscus as the official state flower. The hibiscus is also represented in art, clothing and jewelry associated with Hawaii.

Yellow Ilima

The yellow ilima represents the Hawaiian island of Oahu. The ilima, with a pale yellow bloom, is a member of the hibiscus family. It blooms with a webbed appearance and a few petals extending beyond the circular center of the bloom. At the very center, red and orange streaks define the bloom, breaking away from its pale yellow appearance. The ilima plant adapts depending on its environment. It grows with a more treelike appearance in the highlands, but a more shrublike growth in low areas. Native Hawaiians also boast of the medicinal properties of the ilima blooms, which are used as a laxative, according to the Hawaii Flower website.

Red Ohia

The red ohia is the blossom of the ohia tree and the flower chosen for the big island of Hawaii. It's easily identified by its round, spiky, cotton ball-like appearance. The ohia blooms are typically red, but can be found in yellow, orange and white. Blooms are surrounded by pointy green leaves and feature a green center. According to Hawaii Flower, the ohia bloom is thought to be the flower of the goddess Pele. Pele is a violent-tempered god who controls fire and volcanoes, according to local legends.

Pink Lokelani

The pink lokelani, also known as the rose of heaven, represents Maui. This rosy, pink bloom resembles traditional roses with multiple petals forming a cuplike bloom. Brought to Hawaii in the 1800s by Spanish settlers, the pink lokelani thrived in the gardens of Maui. The prevalence of the flower earned it the nickname "Maui rose." The pink color evokes memories of deep pink lipstick, and its roselike bloom makes it easily identifiable. It has been the subject of many artistic projects.

White Kukui Blossom

The white kukui blossom represents the island of Molukai. Kukui is a tiny, white flower with five petals giving it a starlike appearance. Kukui blossoms grow at the end of the kukui tree in large clusters. The blossoms are commonly used by lei makers throughout Hawaii.


Lanai is represented by an air plant that is not actually a flower at all. Long, thin orange vines grow in the wild of the island, but are very difficult to find. Like the kukui blossom of Molukai, kaunaoa flowers are commonly used to weave the lei necklaces of Hawaii.

Keywords: flowers of Hawaii, identifying Hawaiian flowers, Hawaii state flowers

About this Author

Erin Maurer began writing professionally for Demand Studios and Simply the Best Writing in 2009. Concentrating on her interests, she writes about animal issues, craft projects and home improvements. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication studies from Widener University in Chester, Pa.