Hawaii presents a large range of growing elements for flowers throughout the mountains, valleys and coastal areas. Temperatures are mild all year with moderate amounts of humidity. The influence of warm ocean water results in small seasonal changes. With the mild climate year round, many flowers are able to grow as tender perennials in the wild.
Yellow hibiscus (Hibiscus brackenridgei) is also called pua aloalo. The hibiscus was declared the official state flower in 1988. This perennial flower can grow as tall as 30 feet in the form of a small tree. It is usually grown as a garden shrub 3 to 15 feet tall spreading 8 to 15 feet wide. The leaves are fuzzy and about 6 inches long. Large flowers are 4 to 6 inches in diameter. They are yellow with maroon centers and grow singly or in small clusters at the end of the branches. The flowers open between 2 to 4 p.m. and close sometime between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. The main blooming season is in the spring through early summer and occasionally blooms during the rest of the year. The yellow hibiscus is a native flower of Hawaii that is considered endangered. It thrives in dry forests and shrub land from 400 to 2,600 feet above sea level.
Yellow ilima (Sida fallax) is the island Oahu’s official flower. The flowers are 1 inch across and resemble a small hibiscus blossom. Yellow ilima can grow along the ground or as an erect shrub. It forms mats 6 to 12 inches deep. The shrub form usually grows under 5 feet tall. The leaves are 2 to 3 inches long and oval in shape. The top of the leaves are bright green and the underneath is hairy and velvety in appearance. The blossoms are a 5 petal trumpet shaped flower ranging from yellow to orange in color. It blooms throughout the year. Yellow ilima grows on rocky and sandy coastlines from sea level to 6,500 feet. These flowers are in coastal and moist woodland areas. These flowers are used for leis, landscapes and native Hawaiian medicine.
Hinahina (Heliotropium anomalum) is a silver-gray plant that is the official flower of Kahoolaw Island. This small plant forms mats 6 to 12 inches deep and 30 inches across. The leaves are 2 to 3 inches long and covered with soft silky hairs that give the hinahina its silvery appearance. The leaves grow in a rosette shape near the tips of the stems. Tiny, white tubular flowers appear as clusters at the end of the stems. Hinahina grows in sandy coastal habitats. This fragrant flower is used for making leis and in landscaping.