Since 1988, the Hawaii state flower has been the yellow hibiscus. This flower (Hibiscus brackenridgei) is native to the islands of Hawaii since it thrives in tropical environments. Still, while the climate is perfect for this flower, it is on the endangered species list due to predators, urban development, damaging environmental events, and more.
So, why is the yellow hibiscus the state flower of Hawaii? What does this flower represent and symbolize, and what is the official state tree of the island? What do the other islands of Hawaii use as their flower? Finally, what are some general facts to know about this plant?
Here is the complete breakdown of Hawaii’s state flower.
Why is the Yellow Hibiscus the State Flower of Hawaii?
While Hawaii became the 50th state of America on August 21, 1959, the hibiscus flower was part of its history long before that date. In fact, in 1920, the hibiscus flowers were the territorial emblem of the state. Hibiscus flowers were the territorial emblems since there were numerous versions of this plant, all native to the islands of Hawaii.
As the years went by, some residents began associating the red hibiscus with the state’s emblem. Since there are numerous colors of these hibiscus flowers, it was challenging to say which was the official state flower. That changed in 1988 when Hawaii Legislation officially made the yellow hibiscus their state flower to represent all their islands.
The Aloha state uses a rainbow on its license plates due to the numerous rainbows on the island all year long. One could also associate the rainbow with the island’s multiple colors of hibiscus flowers. Since rainbows and hibiscus flowers are common in tropical environments, they go hand in hand.
The Yellow Hibiscus in Hawaiian Culture
The yellow hibiscus represents many parts of the Hawaiian culture. Since this flower is native to the lands and thrives in tropical environments, making it the official flower of Hawaii only made sense. While the flower is on the endangered species list, Hawaii’s climate still makes it the perfect place for this plant to grow, either in the wild or in someone’s garden.
Another reason that the yellow hibiscus is part of Hawaiian culture is the Hawaiin lei. Chances are you will have some yellow hibiscus flowers that make up the lei, which is both a beautiful welcome to your Hawaii travel adventures and a way to introduce you subtly to the culture and lifestyle of Hawaii. Also, it is worth noting that there will probably be other colors, like red hibiscus flowers, in the lei since those are also native to the lands.
Outside of the lei you get as a visitor when you enter a resort, you might see these flowers on hula skirts and in the hair of hula dancers. You will also see countless Hawaiian shirts and swimsuits with this flower. Along with that, you will see plenty of art and other gifts sold at souvenir shops with this flower.
What Are the Other Hawaiian Island Flowers?
- Oahu: Ilima blossom
- The Big Island: Red Hibiscus
- Lanai: Yellow and orange air plant
- Maui: Pink cottage rose
- Kauai: Mokihana
What Does the Yellow Hibiscus Flower Represent?
According to the Petral Republic, a blossoming yellow flower represents good luck and fortune. Along with that, yellow hibiscus flowers represent happiness and joy. What works so well with this flower is that it is native to Hawaii and fits perfectly with its happy culture. Rainbows are common on the island and bring joy to residents and visitors alike, so having a yellow hibiscus represent the state as the official flower makes sense.
What is Hawaii’s State Flower and Tree?
The official flower of Hawaii is the yellow hibiscus, while the official tree is the kukui tree (Candlenut Tree.) The other state symbols include the Hawaiian goose as the state bird and the rectangle triggerfish as the state fish.
When Should You Gift a Yellow Hibiscus to Someone?
Outside of gifting a traveler a yelow hibiscus as a welcome lei, you can still give these plants to others even if you are not in Hawaii. For instance, since the flower represents good luck and joy, you can give them to someone for numerous reasons. Some circumstances include them starting a new job, moving to a new state, or congratulating them on an exciting lifestyle moment that brings them joy and happiness.
What Are Some Interesting Facts about the Yellow Hawaiian Hibiscus?
- There are seven native Hawaiian plants in Hawaii, part of the hibiscus family.
- In the 1920s, Hawaii recognized all hibiscus flowers as their territorial flower.
- The yellow hibiscus became the official state flower in 1988.
- This flower entered the endangered list on 11-10-1994
- Hibiscus flowers grow in tropical climates
- They can grow year-round, but most growth tends to occur in the spring and summer.
- The scientific name of the yellow hibiscus is Hibiscus brackenridgei.
- Hawaiians call the yellow hibiscus the Ma’ohauhele.
- Hummingbirds like to interact with these flowers.
- The height of these flowers can be close to 15 feet tall with the right growing conditions.
Conclusion: What is the State Flower of Hawaii?
In summary, the native yellow hibiscus became the official state flower of Hawaii in 1988. The Hawaiian Island climate condition is ideal for this plant to grow and thrive since it loves tropical environments. While the growing conditions are suitable for this plant, it has been on the endangered species list since 1994 for various reasons. Some reasons include predators eating them, natural wildflowers, and any urban development across the lands.
When visiting Hawaii, you will see numerous instances of this flower throughout your travels and experience. For example, if you arrive at a resort as a tourist, chances are your Hawaiin lei will include several species of hibiscus flowers on them. Also, hula skirts and dancers tend to have this flower, which adds to the island’s beauty since it is so striking. Finally, numerous gift shops will have this flower and other souvenirs in their artwork.