Flowering trees are a beautiful sight to see in Hawaii and to watch them come into bloom is really something! Locals and tourists alike marvel at the flowering trees around Hawaii from native trees to the more exotic imports.
In our guide we’ll take you through some notable trees and flowers of Hawaii, so if you’re from Hawaii you can better recognize these gorgeous plants on your doorstep, and if you’re a tourist you can impress your travelling companions with your knowledge of Hawaiian flora.
1. Amherstia Nobilis Or Pride Of Burma
The Amherstia Nobilis – also known as Pride of Burma – is one of the most exotic, gorgeous trees in Hawaii.
As its name would suggest, these trees originate in Burma and India, and are impressive flowering trees that love the humid conditions of Hawaii.
Mature trees can reach a height of 30 to 40 feet and can be as wide as 40 feet! Their intense scarlet flowers and yellow accents are definitely eye-catching.
As we’ve mentioned, this tree thrives in well draining, humid soils that have regular moisture to properly develop, grow and produce consistent blooms.
The Anthurium gives the rose a stiff competition when it comes to being a flower that symbolizes passion. It’s literally shaped like a heart!
Anthurium is a member of the Araceae family and can be found in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. In fact, in Hawaii red Anthurium is the flower of choice for anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, weddings, and holiday celebrations.
3. Bottlebrush Trees
Bottlebrush trees can be seen everywhere across the Hawaiian islands, and this is partly because they’re beautiful, easy to maintain trees.
However, Bottlebrush trees do not originate in Hawaii. Rather, they are from Australia and are also commonly referred to as Callistemon. They belong to the small tree family of Myrtaceae.
They’re tough trees that are tolerant to drought, and are found in a lot of public areas around Hawaii such as shopping centers and hotels.
These are particularly slow-growing trees that reach a height of around 5 to 10 feet in about 5 years. This petite evergreen tree has dark red flowers with durable stamens and looks like a bottle brush. Hence the name!
4. Bauhinia Variegata (Orchid Trees)
Bauhinia Variegata are stunning Orchid trees that look like orchid sprays when in full bloom and have a long-lasting blooming cycle on the Hawaiian islands.
Orchid trees are often planted in parking areas, public gardens, and streets, as well as in more commercial spaces for visitors to enjoy.
While the flowers of this tree look like orchids, they do not have the scent of orchids and come in a range of colors like purple, red, salmon-pink, and white.
A lot of commercial centers and tropical gardens are home to orchid trees because they are pretty simple to maintain. While the spent flowers can be messy, they make excellent mulch if you keep a hold of them!
Orchid trees originate in China and India, but thrive in tropical, sunny environments like Hawaii, and grow successfully in well-drained soil.
5. Brugmansia (Angel’s Trumpet)
This mesmerizing and vibrant small tree or shrub makes a beautiful display and also smells wonderful in your garden!
Their woody stems support pendulous flowers that are usually either orange, peach, white and yellow. This stunning, aromatic plant is also in bloom all year long.
Brugmansia – or Angel’s Trumpet – is simple to care for, but it requires lots of nutrients, sun, water, and well-draining soil to thrive in your garden.
Once the tree is established it requires little maintenance. You just need to maintain the wild blooms that build up from the spent flowers!
They have a short but stunning bloom, and are a member of the nightshade family which can make it poisonous for some pets. Make sure your pets never eat any part of the plant or its flowers!
6. Cassia Shower Trees
One of the most stunning trees on the Hawaiian islands, Cassia shower trees are very popular and can be found on many boulevards and open landscape, as well as in parks and public gardens.
These trees hail from South East Asian countries and India and have famous varieties such as the Golden Shower and Rainbow Shower trees that can reach a massive height of 35 feet.
Their blooms are long-lasting without leaving a messy seed pod once the flowers wilt, which is what makes them great for both public spaces and private gardens.
All the Cassia trees in Hawaii are evergreen, semi-evergreen or deciduous depending on the individual tree.
Cassia flowers normally grow into massive floral clusters before the leaflets are revealed. Cassia trees commonly found on the Hawaiian islands are Cassia Javanica, Rainbow multicolor, and yellow Cassia Fistula.
Ornamental ginger is a member of the Zingiberaceae family, and is widely cultivated in Hawaii because of its beautiful flowers. However, it can be found in the wild, up in the mountains, in the rainforests, and besides streams and waterfalls.
Red Torch Ginger is a beloved cut flower in Hawaii and is often a feature in elaborate tropical flower arrangements for hotels, resorts, and restaurants. The sap of Awapuhi Ginger is fragrant and is often used to make beauty products and shampoo.
8. Hawaiian Cherry Trees
Cherry trees can be found in the cooler regions of Hawaii, and most of them have been planted in celebration of the Sakura festival.
The cherry tree blossoms welcome in spring, and are normally planted to celebrate peace, spring, and Sakura that remembers the Japanese immigrants who came to Hawaii to work on the plantation farms.
Waimea has a group of cherry trees that have been planted by Japanese groups to celebrate the Sakura festival.
Waimea’s cherry blossoms are a fun way to enjoy spring in the area, and a popular Cherry Blossom festival takes place to celebrate springtime.
9. Hau Tree
The Hau plant is a type of hibiscus tree and is one of the early canoe plants that was brought to Hawaii from Southeast Asia and has numerous purposes.
The wood is used for cordage, domestic use, dyes, fire kindle wood, floats and canoe supports, and a range of medicines.
The Hau tree is an ornamental plant with gorgeous yellow flowers and deep red throats that grows in the dense thickets of lowland areas of Hawaii.
They can either be found as shrubs or trees that grow to around 20 feet in height. The blossoms last just a day but bloom all year round in delicate blossoms.
Heliconia is a flower beloved by florists and is often known as the parrot beak flower, the lobster claw flower, and the bird-of-paradise flower.
It’s also simple to grow Heliconia in Hawaii, but because of how quickly they can spread they can take over your whole garden, and some Heliconia flowers also grow up to 20-feet tall!
Its juicy nectar found inside the vibrant inflorescence is particularly attractive to bats, birds, and bugs.
11. Jacaranda Trees
The Jacaranda Tree is one of the most beautiful trees in Hawaii with stunning purple displays in spring time. They’re normally found in wild areas of the big island, and in Maui.
These trees originally come from South America, and can grow as tall as 40-feet. It has a large girth and grows mainly in the cooler, upland areas of the big island and Maui, where its large purple clusters really stand out.
The flowers on the trees are durable and have a vibrant appearance. They’re pretty tolerant to drought and grow well in dry environments.
They are actually considered an invasive species in Hawaii because they spread pretty easily in the natural environments of Hawaii.
12. Lehua And Native Ohia Blossoms
This flowering tree is native to Hawaii, and is one of the main trees that grow out of the lava rock environment of Hawaii and its surrounding islands, playing a massive role in establishing a native forest of trees that can withstand rocky soils.
They are more common on the big island however, due to its open lava terrain and large landmass.
Witnessing the Ohia tree and the Lehua blooms coming into view is the inspiration behind traditional chants, dances, and songs that celebrate this special flowering native tree.
A massive part of Hawaii’s history, culture, and storytelling, the Ohia and Lehua blossoms are also notable for their usage in leis as well as landscaping.
Ohia are normally slow-growing trees but can grow faster in their natural environment. They’re tall and slim with a columnar growth normally reaching 30 feet.
13. Mountain Apple – Syzygium Malaccense
Despite what the name suggests, the Mountain Apple tends to grow in wet, low elevation windward forests in Hawaii, rather than the mountains.
The flowers bloom on the trunk or old wood and have cupped, small red or magenta petals. Very rarely do you see them sprouting white flowers.
The flowers have many red stamens speckled with yellow anthers that make them very attractive to nectar-hungry birds.
The Mountain Apple is indeed a fruit tree that produces small pink, red or white fruit that resembles pears and can grow up to 4 inches long.
While being crisp and refreshing, the fruit is also rather mild with a slight hint of floral flavor. You can eat them fresh or cook them.
The leaves are usually egg-shaped or elliptical, and can be light green, dark green, and bronze or pink when new foliage grows.
14. Nau – Hawaiian Gardenia Tree
Hawaiian Gardenia or the Nau is a tree native to Hawaii. It’s smaller than some of the other trees on this list, reaching a maximum height of 12 feet.
The Nau has a close resemblance to the Puakenikeni plant (more on that later) and is used for ornamental purposes and in leis.
They’re normally grown as landscape plants into small trees or hedges, and have a lovely, sweet scent that isn’t too overpowering.
Nau are grown in environments that have plenty of sun and in well-drained to arid soils.
However, it’s also a fast-growing tree that can adapt to a lot of environments in Hawaii and is normally found in public walkways and other public spaces for everyone to enjoy.
15. ʻŌhiʻa Lehua – Metrosideros Polymorpha
The Ōhiʻa Lehua is also a tree native to Hawaii and is a significant symbol in Hawaiian culture. They are referenced heavily in local chants, songs, and stories.
They do well in rocky soils and are usually the first to grow on recent flows of lava, and because of its rocky terrain are most commonly found on the big island.
Many varieties of them can be found in the wild, from trees with just one trunk to small, spreading shrubs depending on surrounding conditions. The flowers are usually either orange, salmon pink, red, white, or yellow.
Orchidaceae is the biggest flowering plant family in the world, and in Hawaii, orchids are very lucrative, contributing millions of dollars to the Hawaiian economy.
The Annual Orchids Show is a much anticipated event on the big island, attracting thousands of visits from all over the planet.
Orchids come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and every color imaginable! Still, red orchid hybrids are still pretty rare to see.
Red Passionflower Vine is also known as Grape-leaf Passionflower (due to the shape of its leaves resembling grapes) or Perfumed Passionflower. It’s the largest flower in the Passifloraceae family.
This ornamental vine grows quickly and can totally cover a fence, trellis or rock wall in no time. The exotic, crimson flowers only last for a day before transforming into small green fruits that smell and taste like strawberries when they’re ripe.
18. Puakenikeni Trees
One of the most popular and durable flowering trees in Hawaii, Puakenikeni trees are beautiful and fragrant flowers that are found in pretty much every backyard in Hawaii.
However, they originally come from Australia, North Carolina, and the Pacific Islands, and are trees that are beloved for their flowers that are mainly used in lei making and for decorative purposes.
Puakenikeni trees are evergreen shrubs that can easily reach a height of 50 feet. They also grow rapidly in well-drained and sunny environments such as Hawaii. They can thrive in coastal areas as well as environments at a higher elevation.
If you want to make a simple, quick lei for your family and friends, you can’t go wrong with flowers from the Puakenikeni tree.
19. Plumeria Trees
Plumeria trees are another popular flowering tree in Hawaii, and their beautiful flowers are also commonly used to make leis, perfumes, and other decorative displays.
Plumeria trees thrive in the dryer, more arid landscapes of the leeward sides of the island, and in the hot, desert-like environments. They definitely make the dryer parts of the island more vibrant!
They originate from Central America and Mexico, and grow into small trees that bloom from April through to late November.
You can find them in a wide variety of colors such as dark red, orange, pink, purple, white, and yellow as well as a range of hybrids in even brighter colors. These are often grown in gardens and used to decorate leis.
Plumerias are a commercially viable and popular type of plant used for making distinctive, versatile leis.
20. Portia Tree – Thespesia Populnea
The Portia Tree is a small to medium-sized tree that is often found near mangroves and on the shorelines of Hawaii. You can find it on pretty much all the main islands and at elevations reaching 900 feet.
The wood found on the Portia Tree is renowned for its use in many types of manufacturing throughout the pacific, and its fruit and bark is also well renowned.
The tree is also thought to be sacred and is often planted around temples. It is believed that it was once only permitted to be used by the Hawaiian royal family.
The flowers are yellow and bell-shaped with purple or maroon centers, and the young leaves are edible.
Woody seed pods have a downy surface and 5 cells and contain just one seed inside. These can stay on the tree for a while but only ripen in dry conditions.
21. Royal Poinciana Tree
Also known as a flame tree, the Royal Poinciana tree has flowers that resemble orchids with five petals and are normally found in orange or bright red hues.
They form an umbrella-like tree with cascading flowers in an eye-catching display of vibrant colors on one main trunk.
The tree is a great landscape plant as long as it is not planted close to any structure which can be damaged by an aggressive root structure. However, this popular tree is not considered an invasive species.
The trees are pretty fast-growing. They grow 5 feet every year and shed their leaves in the spring rather than in the Fall, unlike most deciduous trees.
22. Spathodea Campanulata – African Tulip Trees
As their name would suggest, African Tulip trees are native to Africa and make a beautiful display thanks to their large, gorgeous orange, scarlet, and yellow flowers that resemble tulips.
It is a perennial evergreen tree that is considered invasive and can be found in a variety of Hawaiian environments, including wet and lower elevation areas.
They grow quickly in many wild terrains and gulches, and this is why they have been classified as an invasive species. The red and yellow varieties are quite rare and not so widespread in Hawaii and are normally used in landscaping projects.
23. Yellow Tabebuia
Yellow Tabebuia are stunning flowering trees in Hawaii, and are also known as trumpet trees. Watching them bloom is a wonderful thing to witness, and they bloom for about a month in early spring. The leaves will then flush out and create a lush green canopy.
The Yellow Tabebuia is a large, deciduous tree that can grow 12 inches every year and eventually reach a height of 40–60 feet.
The best growing conditions for them are in environments that tolerate droughts well and that are sunny.
Tabebuia are undeniably beautiful and can be found in many Hawaiian environments. What makes them particularly appealing is that they require a minimal amount of care.
All the trees and flowers we’ve mentioned grow well in Hawaii. Some trees are deciduous while some will remain evergreen.
If you would like to grow a flowering tree in your own garden you need to take your location and environment into account, as well as the growing habits and conditions of the tree or flower you wish to plant.
A lot of these plants can grow very large so considering how much space you have and having sufficient rooting area away from rock walls and foundations is also important to ensure your flowering tree can grow properly and so the rest of your garden isn’t affected!
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