Tropical Plants of Hawaii

One of the roots of Hawaii's popularity is the lush, tropical vegetation. Tropical flowers, plants and fruits flourish here in the fertile rich soil, constant rainfall and sun. Each Hawaiian island has flowers or plants that are specific to its own environment and culture, but there are also several that grow on all islands that are commonly used for flower arrangements and photographs.

Golden Shower Tree

This tree grow large and rains flowers when in bloom in the spring. The golden shower tree (Cassia fistula) resembles the weeping willow tree, but with bright, bold bell flowers instead of long narrow leaves. This flowering tree is very common in Hawaii, and has a strong aromatic scent when in bloom.


The island of Kauai's official plant is the mokihana (Pelea anisata). This is a green berry that only grows on the slopes of Mount Waialelae. The berries resemble green firm beads, and natives will treat them as such. When threaded onto strands of traditional maile, the berries have a strong aroma of anise and provide a slight oily moisture against the skin.


The Hawaiians have prided themselves on having the hibiscus as their unofficial flower since the 1920s. In 1988, the yellow hibiscus (hibiscus brackenridgei) was finally dubbed the official state flower. The hibiscus grows everywhere in Hawaii, from hotel floral arrangements to beachside bushes. It is also known as the pua aloalo.


The ilima, which resembles a smaller version of a hibiscus, is used to make Hawaiian leis. The yellow ilima is the flower of Oahu, but it also comes in shade of white, coral, red and purple. Not only are ilimas used for decoration and culture, the juice from the flowers is pressed out to encourage strength.


The guava is one of the most common fruit trees in Hawaii, and produces one of Hawaii's most famous fruits. This tree flourishes all over Hawaii's islands. The firm, yellow fruit has pinkish pulp, and is available almost year-round.

Keywords: Hawaiian flowers, tropical flowers in Hawaii, plants in Hawaii

About this Author

Lauren Wise is a journalism major from Arizona State University with over forty published magazine and media articles and over 400 Web site articles. Wise owns Midnight Publishing with over eight years experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food and wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in magazines including Runway, A2Z, Scottsdale Luxury Living and True West.