Planting Paradise: The Uniqueness Of Hawaiian Plants

  • By: Succulents Plants
  • Date: December 14, 2022
  • Time to read: 9 min.
Hawaiian Plants
Photo by courtesy of Justin Ozanne

If you’re dreaming of a tropical paradise, nothing says it more than the exotic beauty of Hawaiian plants. From native flora to exotic species, Hawaii is filled with various beautiful and unique plants that thrive in its tropical climate. In this article, we will explore the uniqueness of Hawaiian plants, from akia to ohia lehua, and how it makes the Hawaiian islands such a lush paradise.

Native Hawaiian Plants

The Hawaiian islands are a botanical paradise, home to many rare and unique plants. While some plants are introduced to the Hawaiian islands, many native plants have evolved in isolation over thousands of years and, as a result, have adapted to their environment to survive. These native plants are an integral part of the natural history of the Hawaiian islands.

There are a variety of native Hawaiian plants, from flowering trees to grasses. Many of the plants have large and showy flowers. Some iconic Hawaiian plants include the hala tree, the kukui (candlenut tree), the plumeria (frangipani), ti leaf, and more. These plants often have bright colors and are indicators of a flourishing native ecosystem.

In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, these plants also play an essential role in the Hawaiian environment. They can provide habitat and food sources for native species, help reduce erosion, and capture carbon dioxide while releasing oxygen. Hawaiian plants also have medicinal properties, and some plants, such as the kava, have been used for centuries by the Hawaiian people for various medical purposes.

Hawaiian plants have been part of the culture and environment of the islands for centuries and have evolved to fit perfectly into the unique ecosystem. As a result, the plants are essential to preserving this special and fragile place. With increased threats from environmental change, it is more important than ever to conserve and protect these unique Hawaiian plants.


The islands of Hawaii are a horticulturist’s paradise—thousands of unique plants are found here that are native to the area and exist nowhere else in the world. One of the most significant Hawaiian plants is Akia; a fern adapted to thrive in volcanic and oceanic conditions.

Akia is known for its shiny, deep green fronds that can reach up to eight feet in length. It grows in dense clusters, with numerous branches coming off a single stalk. These fronds are the plant’s primary source of nutrition, drawing energy from the sun and storing it within their leaves. They also provide Akia with its vibrant color, which is not just a showy display—on the contrary, this rich hue also indicates the plant’s health. When Akia is not thriving, its fronds will become dull and grayish.

The roots of Akia are also extraordinary—they grow horizontally, making them well-suited to life in coastal areas. These roots are incredibly hardy and withstand heavy rains, strong winds, and saltwater. In some cases, Akia’s roots can even stretch down more than 20 feet deep!

In addition to its strength, Akia is prized for its rarity. It is so rare that it has been placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s endangered species list. As such, conservation efforts are currently underway to help protect and revive this iconic Hawaiian plant.

It is an extraordinary sight for those fortunate enough to come across an Akia. With its vibrant color, impressive size, and legendary resilience, this unique Hawaiian plant is a reminder of nature’s beauty, strength, and fragility.


This species, also known by its scientific name of Dicranopteris linearis, is a clumping fern endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. Uluhe is a unique part of the environment in Hawaii, as it thrives in dense, wet forest areas and clings to volcanic slopes. It is also often used in hula performances, as its long, slender fronds are perfect for dancing.

Uluhe has a unique look compared to other Hawaiian plants; its fronds are divided into two distinct shapes. The top end of each frond is thicker, with a large leaf and a mass of branchlets growing from it. The bottom of the frond is narrower and thread-like, with no leaflets. Along the sides of the frond are tufts of small, delicate leaflets. The overall appearance of the uluhe fern is quite striking and adds to the beauty of Hawaii’s natural environment.

As mentioned earlier, uluhe thrives in wet, dense forest areas and can be found clinging to volcanic slopes. It likes shaded areas and prefers soils with lots of organic matter. Uluhe is also incredibly hardy and can withstand major weather events such as hurricanes and tropical storms.

Uluhe is a hardy and unique species of Hawaiian plant that is a critical part of the island’s ecology. It is a beautiful addition to Hawaii’s natural environment, and its hardiness makes it an ideal choice for various landscaping projects. If you’re looking to make your yard more tropical, including some uluhe ferns is a great way to add a little Hawaiian flavor to your landscape.


Among the most fascinating of these plants is the Hapu’u. Originating in Hawaii, the tree is distinguishable by its crimson foliage and brown bark. Hapu’u is a type of fern tree with dark green fronds that reach approximately three feet in length. The fronds are segmented, making it easy to recognize if you ever come across them.

The Hapu’u is a unique plant that needs particular soil and environment to survive. It prefers moist, acidic soil to the regular soil found in most gardens. Such conditions can be created by placing the tree in a location with ample shade or having regular irrigation. Warmer temperatures are also crucial for the tree to thrive.

Hapu’u is an excellent addition to any garden because of its unique qualities. Its velvet-like texture and dense foliage add a special touch of beauty to any outdoor space. Furthermore, the tree does not require regular pruning, making it an effortless, long-term addition to any garden.

The Hapu’u is an excellent choice for those looking for a special addition to their outdoor oasis. Although it requires special care, adding this unique Hawaiian plant will surely transform any yard into a paradise. With its distinctive crimson foliage and lush fronds, the Hapu’u is a great way to add a tropical flair to any garden.

Exotic Hawaiian Plants

Hawaii boasts a wide variety of plants, from the ubiquitous palm trees to rare, endangered species. The islands’ isolation has created many endemic plants or plants that exist nowhere else on Earth. With more than 90 percent of the islands’ native plants endemic, it’s easy to see why Hawaiian plants are so unique.

The Hawaiian Islands are home to an incredible selection of native plants. There are no fewer than 19 species of orchids and a wide range of ferns, vines, and flowering shrubs. Of course, the iconic Hawaiian flower, the plumeria, is also found here. Palm trees are the most common in the islands but are joined by lu’au, the hala tree, and the ‘ohi’a tree.

These plants can be found in various environments – from the dry, volcanic slopes of Mauna Kea to the lush, humid jungles of the Hana rainforest. Each environment provides unique conditions, allowing plants to thrive and create a unique landscape.

The unique climate of Hawaii also allows plants to grow in a way that isn’t possible elsewhere. For example, many flowers and plants that normally grow in the Northern Hemisphere can bloom in Hawaii all year round.

For nature enthusiasts, exploring Hawaii’s exotic plants is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. From the rare endemic species to the iconic palm trees, Hawaiian plants provide a glimpse into a world like no other.

Ohia Lehua

This unique species has been an important part of Hawaiian culture for centuries and is found in various ecosystems. Ohia Lehua is a small tree and grows to approximately 20 feet in height. It is native to the Hawaiian Islands and is a member of the myrtle family of plants. The tree’s bark is reddish-brown, and its leaves are deep green.

Ohia Lehua is an essential plant in Hawaiian culture. In Hawaiian mythology, Ohia Lehua symbolizes true love between two lovers. Ohia Lehua is also the source of the traditional lei, a symbol of Hawai’i’s rich culture, made from the tiny flowers of the tree’s blossoms. The tree is also the conventional source for hula costumes and Hawaiian warrior helmets.

Ohia Lehua is found in many different habitats, from higher elevations of mountains to wet forests, and it is essential for Hawaiian ecosystems. Its hardwood is used in building structures, tools, and hula implements and provides food for birds and other animals. Ohia Lehua also plays a vital role in soil conservation as its roots and branches hold soil in place and prevent erosion.

Ohia Lehua is one of the most important Hawaiian plants, playing a role in Hawaiian culture and the environment. The species is incredibly unique and provides various benefits to the Islands. Taking care of Ohia Lehua is one way to ensure its future and help keep its important role alive in the Hawaiian Islands.


This evergreen tree is native to the Hawaiian islands and has been instrumental in these islands’ culture for centuries.

Koa trees are medium to large evergreen, reaching heights of up to 59 feet. These trees are incredibly hardy and capable of withstanding droughts and high winds, making them an excellent choice for the rugged terrain of Hawaii. The bark of the koa tree is a distinct dark brown color, often highlighted by lighter green leaves. The tree’s wood is a beautiful golden-brown color, often used to make furniture, sculptures, and more.

The koa tree has long been valued and cherished by the Hawaiian people. In addition to being a great source of wood, koa trees play an important role in Hawaiian culture. For generations, koa trees have been planted to commemorate special events, such as weddings and births, and their wood has been used to make spiritual items. The koa tree has also provided shade and protection from the intense Hawaiian sun.

Koa trees are becoming increasingly rare due to over-harvesting and other human activities. It is important to remember the importance of koa trees in Hawaiian culture and to protect them from extinction. By protecting and preserving what few koa trees remain, we can help ensure that generations of Hawaiians can enjoy the beauty and splendor of the koa tree for generations to come.

Bird of Paradise

These vibrant plants are lovely, with their large, colorful flowers, making them a favorite among gardeners looking to add a splash of color to their outdoor space. In addition to their beauty, Bird of Paradise plants are known for their hardiness – they can be planted almost anywhere and will thrive even in lava rock and drought conditions.

But the Bird of Paradise isn’t just about looks. The Hawaiian native is also a symbol of joy and celebration and has a historical significance in the Islands. The flower was often used in traditional Hawaiian ceremonies and dances, and songs, and it was also used in clothing and accessories. Its beauty and usefulness make it an essential part of Hawaiian culture.

In addition to its aesthetic qualities, the Bird of Paradise has numerous practical uses. Its leaves can make beautiful salads and smoothies, while its flowers are frequently used in tea and herbal medicines. The roots can be boiled and eaten, and the flowers are known to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

These days, the Bird of Paradise is a beloved part of Hawaiian culture. It often graces front yards and patios, adding a touch of class and sophistication to any landscape. Whether you want to add a pop of color to your garden or honor Hawaiian traditions, the Bird of Paradise is a fantastic choice. Plus, with its hardiness and versatility, it’s sure to bring joy for many years to come.


In conclusion, Planting Paradise: The Uniqueness of Hawaiian Plants introduced the reader to the rich culture of Hawaiian plants, both native and exotic. We learned about the native Akia, Uluhe, Hapu’u, and the exotic Ohia Lehua, Koa, and Bird of Paradise. Hawaiian plants have an incredibly unique beauty, shape, and texture that millions have admired. They bring a soothing presence to the visual and olfactory senses. They remind us of the fragility of life and the need to respect and protect it. In this way, Hawaiian plants are a symbol of peace, hope, and prosperity. Without them, our world would be much poorer. So, as we appreciate their beauty, let us also remember the importance of preserving it.


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