Hawaii’s Flowers and Symbolism

Each Hawaii island is wonderfully diverse, and the same can be said for the state’s flowers. From the state flower of the hibiscus to the sweetly scented plumeria, these are some of Hawaii’s most beautiful flowers, along with the symbolic meanings behind them.

Hibiscus flower and extract

The hibiscus was first adopted by Hawaiians as their Territorial flower in the 1920’s, and, in 1988, Hawaii’s legislature legally stated that the yellow hibiscus was now the official flower of the state. While only five hibiscus species are actually native to Hawaii, other varieties were brought in over the years and hybrids that were unique to the islands were soon created. In general, the hibiscus signifies beauty, but the way in which they are worn can allude to different meanings. When worn behind the left ear, the hibiscus shows that the woman wearing it is married, while if it is worn behind the left ear, then that is a sign that the woman is single.

Crown Flower
Signifying royalty, the crown flower resembles a crown when the petals of the blossoms are rolled back, which is what gave the flower its name. The flower was also a favorite of the last queen of Hawaii, Queen Liliuokalani.

Red Ginger flower

Red Ginger
The spiraled red ginger plant boasts vibrant red spiky blossoms, similar to that of a pineapple’s pointed foliage. The meanings behind the flower focus on wealth and diversity, which is why they are often used in flower arrangements intended for gifts, as well as window displays in homes around the state.

The sweetly-scented plumeria has a number of positive meanings, from birth and love to perfection and new beginnings. Since they are so fragrant, only royalty used to be allowed to wear them, but they are now cultivated in abundance in Hawaii and are commonly used in leis.


There are four varieties of orchid that are native to Hawaii, and these grow so abundantly here that Big Island, with its many orchid farms, is often nicknamed Orchid Isle. The blooms cultivated here are mostly for export, but the orchid is widely loved across the state. These bright flowers are often given as a 14th wedding anniversary present, and, in ancient Greece, signified virility. Today in Hawaii, the orchid symbolizes luxury and the refinement of beauty, which is not a surprise when you take a close look at just how exquisite these flowers are.

Queen Emma Lily
The Queen Emma lily is another flower that is associated with Hawaiian royalty, as it was a favorite of Queen Emma, the wife of King Kamehameha IV. While the flower may be native to the Seychelles and Mauritius, it is grown quite widely across the Hawaiian islands for its elegant beauty.

Hawaii is packed with stunning blooms, with different varieties of flowers blossoming at different points throughout the year, ensuring that the islands are always filled with bursts of color. Flowers have always been a huge part of life on the Hawaiian islands, and this is a part of their culture that the locals will never let go of.


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