3 Hawaiian Plants that are not Hawaiian

There are nearly 3,000 different kinds of flowers and plants in Hawaii. The Bishop Museum conducts the Hawaii Biological Survey to keep track of the many native and non-native plants and animals of Hawaii.  Nearly 90% of the native plants of Hawaii are endemic or uniquely found only in Hawaii.  With over 1,000 native Hawaiian plants to choose from, it is surprising that many iconic Hawaiian plants are actually not originally from Hawaii.

Fruit Salad Plant (Monstera deliciosa) 1

1. Monstera

This beautiful tropical foliage, originally from Mexico, has inspired many local products such as Hawaiian quilts, jewelry, and prints on art, clothing, and pillows.

It was brought to Hawaii in the 19th Century as a household plant.  In addition this exotic fruit is edible!  It is said that it tastes like a combination of banana, pineapple, and mango.   However, beware as all parts of this plant are poisonous  and may cause irritation due to oxalic acid except the ripe fruit.

Buy Loose Monstera Leaf from Hawaii

Starr 080103-1399 Anthurium andraeanum

2. Anthurium

The Anthurium is an attractive and long lasting flower, native to Columbia.  It was brought to Hawaii from London in 1889 by S.M. Damon.  After a century of cultivation and hybridization the anthurium is considered Hawaii’s principal ornamental export.

Millions of anthurium’s are shipped worldwide from Hawaii and the demand continues to grow.

Buy Fresh Red Anthuriums from Hawaii

Cordyline fruiticosa 'Firebrand' 3

3. Ti

The Ti Plant was brought to Hawaii by the Polynesians that originally settled on the islands. It is also found in Micronesia, Australia, and tropical Asia.

Native Hawaiians used ti leaves to make clothing, like the skirts worn in hula performances.  The Hawaiian hula skirts are made of over 50 ti leaves tightly woven together around the waist.  This traditional practice can be observed today at the Merrie Monarch Festival, a hula competition that honors the legacy of King David Kalakaua, the last Hawaiian monarch.

The Ti plant is believed to have great spiritual power.  In old Hawaii days only high priests and chiefs were able to wear leaves around their neck during certain ritual activities.  Today many locals plant Ti near their homes to bring good luck and ward off bad or playful spirits.  Ti leaf lei are common gifts for graduations, weddings, anniversaries, or memorials.

Buy Loose Green Ti Leaves from Hawaii
Buy Loose Red Ti Leaves from Hawaii
Buy Ti Leaf Lei from Hawaii

Hawaii Flower Lei

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