Fragrant Flowers of Hawaii
Hawaii is known for its sandy beaches, beautiful weather, and fantastic surf. Hawaii is also home to some of the best floral fragrances in the world. In fact, many dazzling blooms that grow wild around the Hawaiian Islands have been the inspiration for countless perfumes and beauty products. If you ever get a chance to visit, don't forget to indulge in every sweet blossom you see!
During mid-spring through mid-summer, the strong scent of gardenia envelops Hawaii's neighborhoods. The large white blossoms of the gardenia plant are admired for their beauty and long-lasting fragrance. Billie Holiday, beloved jazz-starlet, declared the gardenia as her trademark and always donned the delightful blooms in her hair during performances.
The flowering ginger plant comes in many different varieties and each one smells divine! The most popular ginger blossom, awapuhi 'ula 'ula (red ginger), is used in many hair care products. Other varieties (such as white and yellow ginger) also grow wild in Hawaii. Its lovely perfume takes me back to the days when my father and I would pick Kahili ginger for my mother. It would only take a few stalks to make the whole house smell wonderful!
Pikake & Pua Male
Pikake (Arabian Jasmine) blossoms possess an enchanting scent. Because Princess Kaiulani treasured pikake flowers so much, the Hawaiian name for the flower was derived from her favorite bird (the peacock). Pua Male (Madagascar Jasmine) means "marry flower," which is why it is commonly used in Hawaiian weddings bouquets. While the blossoms of both jasmine variations are quite stunning, the tiny white buds from these plants also make intricately exquisite and highly-coveted lei.
The plumeria blossom is special because its intoxicating fragrance varies from tree to tree. Plumeria trees are easy to grow and will display blossoms that vary in color from bright fuchsia to white. My personal favorite is the peach-orange variety. Although plumeria blossoms are beautiful to behold, be careful when handling them. The plumeria tree produces a milky sap that oozes out when a branch, pod, or flower is broken off. Contact with this glue-like sap will irritate the eyes and skin.
The puakenikeni tree produces sweetly-scented blossoms that range in color from off-white to gold. Puakenikeni means "ten-cent flower" in honor of its lei value during the late 1800s & early 1900s. Lead Pussycat doll and Oahu-born lady, Nicole Scherzinger, even named one of her songs after the adored blossom. Although, I don't think she'll be selling her flower for a dime (lol!)
Tuberose, or "kupalo" in Hawaiian, is another white blossom that exudes a delectable scent. Some of the delicate blossoms are brushed with a touch of pink, yet all of the blossoms unfold in a delicate display reminiscent of a rose. Much like gardenia and jasmine blooms, tuberose flowers retain their fragrance long after they have been picked. As a result, they are widely used for lei-making and floral bouquets.
More Blooms for You...
- Hawaiian Flowers - Official Flowers of Hawaii | Aloha Hawaii
Learn all about the flowers of Hawaii here!