Flowers used in Leis

* “Puakenikeni” means “ten-cent flower” in honor of its lei value during the late 1800s & early 1900s. * A Tahitian Gardenia is known as “Tiare” and it is Tahiti`s national flower. *The most popular lei for a wedding is a “Pikake” (Arabian Jasmine) lei for the bride and a maile lei for the groom. * Tuberose is “Kupalo” in Hawaiian. * Pakalana flowers were used for leis in Honolulu prior to World War II. Pakalana is an evergreen, woody vine with heart-shaped leaves that erupts into small, fragrant, yellow flowers from April to September. * Summertime brings us the blooms and sweet fragrance of the white ginger, `awapuhi ke`oke`o, and the yellow ginger, `awapuhi melemele. * Wearing a Plumeria flower – “Pua Melia” over your ear indicates your relationship status (over your left ear means you are taken and over your right ear means you are available!) * Stephanotis or “Pua Male” means “marry flower” in Hawaiian and is a popular flower at weddings.


Orchids are a popular flower in Hawaii and have become a beloved addition to leis. With their intricate and delicate blooms, orchids are a stunning addition to any Hawaiian lei. There are over 25,000 different species of orchids, with hundreds of these species found in Hawaii.

The most commonly used orchids in Hawaiian leis are the dendrobium orchids, which come in a variety of colors such as white, purple, pink, and green. One of the reasons orchids have become so beloved in Hawaiian culture is their versatility. They can be strung together in a traditional lei, or they can be used as a single, standout bloom in a hairpiece or boutonniere. In addition to their beauty, orchids also last longer than many other flowers commonly used in leis, making them a practical choice for special occasions.

Orchids have a rich history in Hawaiian culture as well. Legends tell of chiefs wearing orchid blooms in their hair as a symbol of their authority, and the flower has been used in medicinal remedies for centuries. Today, orchids can be found in almost any Hawaiian lei, whether it`s a simple, classic lei or a more elaborate one made with a variety of flowers. They bring a touch of elegance and beauty to any occasion, and their long-lasting nature means they can be enjoyed for days after the celebration is over.


Plumeria, also known as frangipani, is a flowering plant that is native to Central America and the Caribbean, but has become almost synonymous with the Hawaiian lei tradition. This beautiful and fragrant flower is a member of the dogbane family, Apocynaceae. In Hawaii, plumerias are commonly used in leis, which are necklaces made from a variety of different flowers or materials. Plumeria leis are especially popular as they have a sweet, lingering fragrance that makes them a perfect adornment for special occasions. Plumeria leis are made by stringing together the individual flowers of the plumeria plant, which can come in a variety of colors from white to pink, yellow, and red. The flowers themselves are relatively large and have a unique shape with five petals arranged in a pinwheel pattern. When assembled into a lei, the flowers can create a stunning accessory that not only looks beautiful but smells amazing as well. The plumeria plant requires a warm and sunny climate to grow, making it an ideal match for Hawaii`s tropical climate.

The flowers bloom year-round, which makes them a popular choice for leis across all seasons. Additionally, the plant can also be propagated from cuttings, which makes it easy to grow and maintain outdoors or even in pots. Overall, plumeria leis are a treasured and iconic symbol of Hawaii`s cultural heritage. They represent the beauty and the essence of the Hawaiian islands, and they are adored by locals and tourists alike. Whether for a special occasion, a gift, or simply as a way to celebrate the beauty of Hawaii, a plumeria lei is an excellent choice.


Puakenikeni, also known as Fagraea berteroana, is a flowering plant that is native to Tahiti, but has become popular in Hawaii as a lei flower. This plant belongs to the family Loganiaceae and is a small tree or shrub. It has glossy, dark green leaves and small, bright yellow or orange flowers with a sweet, intoxicating fragrance. Puakenikeni has been used as a lei flower in Hawaii for many years due to its captivating scent and beautiful color.


Tiare, also known as Gardenia taitensis, is a flowering plant that is native to Tahiti and has become a popular lei flower in Hawaii. The tiare flower is a member of the Rubiaceae or coffee family and is known for its aromatic fragrance and beautiful appearance. Tiare flowers are usually white or cream-colored with a yellow center and have a sweet, delicate scent. The flower`s popularity in Hawaii is due to its long-lasting scent and beauty, making it a perfect choice for creating beautiful and fragrant leis.


Pikake, also known as Jasminum sambac, is a flowering plant that is native to South and Southeast Asia, but has become an iconic and beloved lei flower in Hawaii. This fragrant and delicate flower is a member of the olive family. The pikake was brought to Hawaii in the early 1800s by Chinese immigrants and has since become a symbol of love and beauty in Hawaiian culture. The name “pikake” is actually the Hawaiian word for “peacock,” as the dark center of the flower resembles a peacock`s eye.

Pikake is commonly used in leis, which are traditional Hawaiian garlands made of flowers, leaves, and other materials. The fragrant, white flowers of the pikake are strung together to create a beautiful and aromatic lei that is often worn for special occasions, such as weddings, hula performances, and other celebrations. The pikake lei is especially popular as a gift for loved ones, as the flower is believed to symbolize purity, love, and immortality. It is also said to have a calming effect on the mind and body, making it a popular choice for aromatherapy and other wellness practices.

In addition to its use in leis, pikake is also used in Hawaiian cuisine and traditional medicine. The flowers and leaves of the plant are used to flavor teas, desserts, and other dishes, while its essential oil is used in aromatherapy and massage therapy. Overall, the pikake is an important and beloved part of Hawaiian culture and is cherished for its beauty, fragrance, and symbolic meaning. Whether worn in a lei or used for its therapeutic properties, this beautiful flower continues to captivate and enchant both locals and visitors to the islands.


Tuberose, also known as Polianthes tuberosa, is a fragrant flowering plant that is native to Mexico but has become popular in Hawaii as a lei flower. This plant belongs to the Agavaceae family and produces long, narrow leaves and a tall stem with white, waxy flowers that are highly fragrant. The tuberose has a long history in Hawaii, dating back to the early 1900s when it was introduced from Mexico by Spanish sailors. Today, tuberose is a popular flower used in leis for special occasions such as graduations, weddings, and ceremonies. Tuberose is typically used in single-strand leis, which are made by stringing the flowers together with a needle and thread. The flowers are often mixed with other fragrant flowers such as plumeria, pikake, or orchids to create a stunning and unique lei. In addition to being used in leis, tuberose is also commonly used in perfumery and aromatherapy. The strong, sweet fragrance of the flowers is said to have to relax and calming properties, making it a popular choice for use in candles, essential oils, and other aromatherapy products. While tuberose is not native to Hawaii, it has become an important part of the Islands` cultural and floral heritage. Its beauty and fragrance make it a popular choice for leis and other special occasions, and its versatility in perfumery and aromatherapy has made it a beloved flower around the world.


Pakalana, also known as Hawaiian jasmine or Melicope ternata, is a flowering vine that is native to Hawaii and has been used in the Hawaiian lei tradition for generations. This fragrant flower produces small, delicate blooms that range in color from yellow to white and grow in clusters at the end of long stems. Pakalana has a strong, sweet fragrance, and is used in leis to add a distinct aroma and unique texture. The vine of the plant is often braided or twisted to make the lei, as it is flexible and can be coiled easily into a circular shape.

In ancient Hawaii, pakalana was often given as a gift to express love and affection. It was also believed to have healing properties and was used in traditional Hawaiian medicine to treat ailments such as headaches and stomachaches. Pakalana is typically harvested in the early morning when the flowers are at their most fragrant. The stems are then gently braided together, creating a lei that is both beautiful and meaningful. The fragrant lei is often used for special occasions, such as weddings, birthdays, and graduations, and is a popular choice among locals and tourists alike. Overall, pakalana is a beautiful and versatile flower that plays an important role in Hawaiian culture and tradition. Its use in leis adds a unique texture and fragrance, making it a beloved addition to the Hawaiian lei tradition.

White Ginger

White ginger, also known as Hedychium coronarium, is a fragrant flowering plant that is native to Asia but has become a beloved addition to leis in Hawaii. This beautiful and versatile flower adds a pop of white and a delicate fragrance to any lei. The white ginger plant belongs to the Zingiberaceae family, which includes other popular tropical plants like ginger and turmeric. It is a perennial plant with long, bright green leaves and clusters of white blooms. In Hawaiian culture, white ginger has long been associated with love and beauty. This flower is often used in wedding leis, symbolizing the beauty and purity of the bride. It is also used to create special leis for loved ones, expressing admiration, love, and respect. White ginger is often used in combination with other flowers and foliage to create intricate and beautiful leis. It pairs well with other white flowers, like pikake and tuberose, as well as greenery like ti leaves and ferns.


Stephanotis, also known as Madagascar jasmine, is a flowering plant native to Madagascar but has become a popular and beloved addition to leis in Hawaii. With its small and very fragrant white flowers, the Stephanotis is a graceful and sophisticated addition to any lei. Stephanotis is one of the most popular lei flowers for weddings due to its dainty beauty and sweet aroma. Brides often wear a Stephanotis lei as a part of their wedding ensemble and will use the same lei flowers in the bouquet and in the boutonnieres of the wedding party. Stephanotis leis are often paired with other traditional Hawaiian leis to create a stunning and memorable lei experience. For example, they are often paired with plumeria leis, which are known for their bright colors and sweet fragrance. Making stephanotis leis requires great skill and attention to detail, as the flowers are extremely delicate and easily damaged. Each flower needs to be carefully strung onto the lei in order to create an even and symmetrical look. Overall, the stephanotis is a classic and timeless addition to any Hawaiian lei. Its sweet fragrance and delicate beauty have made it a beloved part of Hawaiian culture, and it remains a popular choice for formal occasions and special events.