The official state flower of Hawaii is the yellow hibiscus (Hibiscus brackenridgei), also known as the pua aloalo. This tropical bloom is of the mallow family and is related to the rose of sharon and the hollyhock. Although the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers it an endangered species, the pua aloalo has gained popularity as a yard ornamental plant through the Hawaiian islands.
The hibiscus bush can grow up to 20 feet. Its blooms typically last for just one day.
Hawaiians unofficially adopted the colorful hibiscus flowers as their territorial flower in the early 1920s. In 1988, the state selected and legally adopted yellow hibiscus as the official state flower.
Each of the eight major Hawaiian islands has its own official flower.
The pua aloalo has such healing properties as lowering high cholesterol, controlling blood pressure and strengthening the immune system, according to Alternative Health Journal.
A hibiscus flower tucked behind the ear of an Hawaiian woman traditionally indicates availability for marriage.
Other countries have adopted uses for the Hawaiian hibiscus. Jamaica and other islands in the West Indies use the sap from the hibiscus for polishing leather shoes.
- Hawaiian Flowers
- Aloha Hawaii
- 100 Hints and Tips for Your Garden; Reader's Digest Association; 1996
- Alternative Health Journal
yellow hibiscus, Hawaiian flower, pua aloalo, Hibiscus brackenridgei
About this Author
Loraine Degraff has been a writer and educator since 1999. She recently began focusing on topics pertaining to health and environmental issues. She is published in "Healthy Life Place" and "Humdinger" and also writes for various websites. Degraff holds a master's degree in communications design from Pratt Institute.