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The Hawaiians have always had a close relationship with nature and the beauty of the islands that they live on. They have always especially appreciated the ocean and the many flowers that inhabit their island. There of course is the hibiscus flower which is commonly used in lei’s and much of the traditional Hawaiian artwork. For detailed facts and information about the Hawaiian hibiscus, please click here.  However, a flower that is equally as important to the Hawaiian people is the Hawaiian plumeria flower. When you look carefully at much of the ancient artwork and even tattoo designs from Hawaii you will find that the plumeria flower, even though it is a smaller flower is often right beside the hibiscus flowers.

The Hawaiian plumeria flower, also known as frangipani, is a native flower to tropical America, and is grown as an ornamental flower as it is not found in the wild.  It has been cultivated throughout the Hawaiian islands since the late 1800s, is the most widely seen flower in Hawaii as it is used in most flower lei necklaces that are given to visitors when they arrive at the airport and attend ceremonial Hawaii festivities such as Hawaiian luaus and Hawaiian weddings.  Plumeria flowers can also be see in the form of a variety of Hawaiian pendants, Hawaiian wood carvings and other Hawaiian products.

Hawaiian plumeria flowers are recognized worldwide by their gentle, sweet fragrance and five, simple teardrop-shaped pedals, each with a diameter of about 2-3 inches. They can are found in a multitude of bright colors including white, pink, yellow, red, orange and even pastel colors.  The plumeria trees upon which they grow, can ultimately reach as high as 30 feet, and have a broad canopy of plumeria flowers that extends equally as wide.

Plumeria flowers were originally used by people as ornamental at funerals and cemeteries, but the sheer beauty and pleasantness that the flowers evoke, led to their eventual use in a wide variety of life affirming contexts within Hawaii.  People often give leis in Hawaii as a sign of welcome or as an expression of congratulations.  They can be seen in a variety of floral arrangements in Hawaii hotels and Hawaii homes, because of their sweet aroma and simple exotic beauty, and can also be seen worn behind the ear of Hawaiian women to accentuate their beauty, or in the form of Hawaiian hair clips.  To view a unique collection of Hawaiian plumeria hair clips, please click here.

From a symbolic standpoint, the Hawaiian plumeria represents “perfection” and the joining together of everything that is good, and most signifies the season of spring when new life is created in the plant kingdom.  This explains why native Hawaiians adorn themselves and Hawaii visitors with this meaningful flower.  In Hawaii, every day is a cause for appreciation of life and the wonder and beauty of the natural world around us, which provides our food, work and shelter.  This same meaning can be enjoyed when you have a plumeria gift of your own, regardless of where you may live in this world which provides each of us with life.  


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