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Official Colors and Flowers of Hawaiian Islands

Official Colors and Flowers of Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii is such a Neverland you won’t be surprised that each island has its own color, 8 islands, 8 colors. Most all given for the color of flowers growing on each isle. The Hawaiian islands is a lei of colorful flowers, strung across the sea. Is this a charming state or what?

Here are the official colors and flowers of Hawaiian islands from the bottom to the top, Hawaii to Ni’ihau.

The Big Island – Red – Lehua flower

Big Island. Color: Red. Flower - Ohia Lehua.

First, The Big Island is red for the fire goddess Pele who lives there, lava is also red. The bright red flower growing in the tropical forests on Hawaii island is the Lehua. It is a bottlebrush- blossom. It shines fiery red on the leaves of the gnarled Ohia Tree. Hawaii is so poetic the names get entwined, the tree and the flower is the Ohia-Lehua tree.

There’s a legend where two lovers, Ohia, the man, and Lehua, the woman, were joined together, one was the tree and the lady, the flower. If you pick the Lehua flower, you separate her from Ohia and he cries- and his tears come down as rain. If you want it to rain pick the Lehua flower.

Maui – Pink – Lokelani rose

Maui. Color: Pink. Flower - Lokelani Rose.

Next on the lei of islands is Maui, its color is pink. It’s the pink color of the roses that bloom everywhere on the Valley Isle. “A rose by any other name would still be a rose”, and as a matter of fact it does have another name, Lokelani (low-kay-lawn’-ee). That’s Hawaiian for the Maui Rose. Boldly pink and fragrant is the Maui Rose.

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Kahoolawe – Gray – Hinahina plant

Kahoolawe. Color: Gray. Flower - Hinahina.

Offshore of Maui is the island of Kahoolawe, a lonely little island because no one can go there. Not a building or beach hut is there, but it is still a respectable little place. It proudly gives us the beautiful Hinahina (hee’-nah hee’-nah) Plant, trimmed with silver gray. Gray is the Kahoolawe’s color.

Lanai – Orange – Kaunaoa plant

Lanai. Color: Orange. Flower: Kaunaoa.

Another nearby island is Lanai, this island’s color is orange, from the Kaunaoa (kah’-oo-nah-oh’-ah) plant. It grows on the ground shining orange, all along the beaches.

Molokai – Green – Kukui Nut flower

Molokai. Color: Green. Flower: Kukui Nut.

Number five on this lei string of islands is Friendly Isle, Molokai. Its color is green, the island flower is the white kukui nut flower, but it’s color is still green. All the research turned up was that Molokai is rural, with rolling green fields, that must be it.

Oahu – Yellow – Ilima flower

Oahu. Color: Yellow. Flower: Ilima.

Now for the Diamond Head, Waikiki, Hawaii 5-0 island of Oahu. With all its freeways of gray, and hotels of white, and cliffs of green, Oahu’s color is yellow. It is from a golden yellow flower the Ilima. It is the symbol of love. It blooms brightest at the Urban Garden Center. It is the only flower that grows on the island of Oahu. Just kidding, but almost.

Kauai – Purple – Mokihana berry

Kauai. Color: Purple. Flower: Mokihana Berry.

Then comes Kauai, its color is purple, the color of the flowers on the fragrant Mokihana Tree. Berries on the tree have been used for centuries as perfume and air-fresheners. Ancient Hawaii. Yes, Hawaiian ladies used perfume way back when.

Ni’ihau – White – White Pupu shell

Niihau. Color: White. Flower: White Pupu Shell.

Last on the island string of the lei is the distant island of Ni’ihau (knee’-ee-how). The forbidden island that no one but Hawaiians can visit. It’s a rebel in the color scheme, its color is not named for a flower but for the special white shells found there. Ni’ihau’s color is white. The leis from the island, called Ni’ihau Shell Leis,  sell for hundreds, even thousands of dollars each.

Floral Parade in Hawaii

What would be the use of all these colors if they weren’t paraded out and shown off? And they are, in grand style, at parades all over Hawaii. The best ones celebrate the birthday of King Kamehameha I, Father of Hawaii. His birthday is June 10, but to keep it on a Saturday, this year 2018, the parades are on June 9. Kamehameha Day parade Oahu is downtown Honolulu June 9 and on Hawaii, downtown Kona and Hilo.

There are other floral parades that also show off the Hawaii colors and how they are shown is the most exciting of all – each island color is portrayed by dazzling flowers draped over horses ridden by beautiful ladies. Hawaii keeps getting better and better.

The ladies on horseback are called Pa’u (pah’-oo) riders, not to be confused with pau (pow) – the Hawaiian word for finished. Pa’u means skirt in Hawaiian and especially means ladies wearing colored skirts prancing in a parade. They’ve been wearing Pa’u, riding colorful horses in Hawaii since 1906.

Ladies on horses wearing colorful skirts and flower leis, representing colors and flowers of their island

The parade starts and here come the ladies! Each riding a horse draped with island flowers.  A Palomino, a black horse, white horse, on they prance, with pretty ladies wearing their island’s color, smiling and waving to the crowd. The Big Island girl on a horse with bright red flowers, Maui in pink. Then Kaho’olawe on a horse bedecked in silver gray, then Molokai – green and Oahu – bright yellow, on and on they walk, one behind the other in a colorful collage of ladies and horses, flowers and leaves.

It’s really true that Hawaii is a colorful place. So you know one island from the other, here again are …

The Official Colors and Flowers of 8 Hawaiian islands

Hawaii – Red – Lehua flower
Maui – Pink – Lokelani rose
Kahoolawe – Gray – Hinahina plant
Lanai – Orange – Kaunaoa plant
Molokai – Green – Kukui Nut flower
Oahu – Yellow – Ilima flower
Kauai – Purple – Mokihana berry
Niihau – White – White Pupu shell


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10 thoughts on “Official Colors and Flowers of Hawaiian Islands

  1. I so enjoyed Dennis Gregory’s light-hearted piece on the official flower of each island. Hawaiian culture continues to fascinated me even after relocating to the mainland in 1975. I read Denny’s writings with great pleasure.

  2. Aloha,
    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge of our home. We miss it so much and sometimes we tend to forget how important our islands and culture are. Being away from home has us missing home so much. The information from your wonderful page will be used as part of a curriculum for our daughters. They are homeschooled and we want to make sure they never forget where they come from.
    The Davis Ohana

  3. Thanks for sharing this wonderful blog. Its hard to find such blog like this. The content is very interesting to the readers.

    1. Aloha Hawaii Florist,
      Mahalo for your compliment, I’m glad you liked it.
      A real good thing coming from a florist. Thanks again, Dennis

  4. What a beautiful flowers. I love so much the Maui Pink Lokelani rose. Where can I buy this kind of flower? I want to give it to my girlfriend.

  5. Aloha Watanabe,
    I’ll try to find out an easy place to buy them,you
    can order anything on line. If you are in Hawaii most florists would have them, especially Maui Florists.

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