Aloha Puo Aloalo – State Flower of Hawaii

Emergence and State History

It was in the year 1912 when a group of women established the Outdoor Circle in an effort to beautify Honolulu and its surrounding areas through the planting of beautiful flowers and trees. Their mission would soon extend to the preservation, protection, and enhancement of the scenic environment in Hawaii in an effort to allow the future generations the opportunity to enjoy these beautiful creations of Mother Nature.

During the 1920s the Outdoor Circle community turned to advocating underground wiring, landscaped the military bases, and campaigned for the elimination of billboards on O’ahu Island. They also promoted the adoption of yellow hibiscus, puo aloalo in the local tongue, as the official floral emblem that would be a representative of Hawaii.

May 2, 1923 proved to be an auspicious day in the national history of the country as the territorial legislature, with a little bit of encouragement from the Outdoor Circle, provided its approval for Joint Resolution No. 1 that officially designated the yellow hibiscus as the state flower of Hawaii.

In the legislation the flower was referred to as an indigenous blossom that would offer a wide variety in terms of form and color. No particular color for the same was specified. Often, red would be the chosen color for portraying the national flower emblem, though the Joint Resolution No. 1 did not make any such official specification.

The year 1988 witnessed the issue of an official state flower being addressed for the first time, thirty years since Hawaii had first become a part of the Union. The hibiscus, though regarded as the state flower for long, was not thought of as official by a certain section of society. The approval of Act 177 on June 6, 1988 allowed the Hawaii legislature to adopt the native yellow hibiscus (ma’o-hau-helewas or pua aloalo in the native tongue) as the official state flower.

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Learning more about the flower

You will be surprised to learn that the hibiscus flowers regularly seen on Hawaii are not of the native variety; this, in spite of the hibiscus being so closely associated with this Pacific Island and the Malvaceae plant family comprising of a variety of floral species that are native to Hawaii.

The Hawaiian hibiscus flowers have a conspicuously large size and are bright yellow in color. There is a prominent staminal tube that surrounds the long and slender style. The Hawaiian hibiscus group has two subspecies, with the yellow Hawaiian hibiscus under this species being the official Hawaii state flower.

The Hawaiian hibiscus flowers have a size measuring about 4 to 6 inches in diameter. The yellow outlay has a maroon center and can be found forming either individually or in small clusters at the ends of its branches. The flower has a yellow staminal column and you can observe it opening between 2-4 P.M. and closing between 9 A.M and 1 P.M.

Sadly, despite having the luxury of living in its own natural habitat, the yellow hibiscus state flower of Hawaii unwontedly finds itself in the list of endangered species!