Flowers are just one of the materials used to create the beautiful leis of Hawaii, but they are perhaps the best known. Flowers come in so many shapes, sizes, colors and scent variations that every flower lei is a unique work of art. There are flower leis that have strong floral scents, those that have more subtle scents and those with no scent at all. Some flowers have large blossoms that are easy to see from a distance. Others are tiny and must be combined with hundreds, or even thousands, of flowers to create a lush lei full of color. Flower leis can be worn by men, women and children, and everyone appreciates the lovely and exotic flowers these leis are made from. Flower leis are worn in weddings, given as gifts for graduations and birthdays, worn to luaus and are often worn simply just to make a night more fun and special. Some of the flowers and leaves used in leis were brought to Hawaii by the ancient Polynesians who used them for medicinal purposes as well as in lei making. Others were native plants that the original settlers discovered on the islands and began to use for both functional and decorative purposes.
The orchid works perfectly in leis because of its long-lasting quality and overall durability. It’s one of the flowers in Hawaii that many people love to wear in leis because of the variety of colors and the lack of a scent. They are perfect for those who don’t like strong scents as well as those who want their lei to last for days of use. These Hawaiian flowers have graceful shapes and make leis that are lush and full of color.
The strong scent of the tuberose makes it a popular flower for leis. The white petals are luminescent and perfect for a white lei that will keep giving you its fragrance all evening long. The long, thin petals of this lovely flower can be combined with other flowers, or with leaves, to add their delicate color to the leis. They are also used in leis by themselves to create a solid white lei that can be worn by anyone to any occasion.
The carnation is one of the loveliest of all Hawaiian flowers. It works perfectly in leis because of its interesting shape and its long life. The carnation is highly durable and comes in a wide variety of colors. In Hawaii, red and white carnation leis are the most popular types to give. The red carnation lei is a symbol of respect and has been worn by everyone from one of Hawaii’s governors to Elvis Presley. Single carnation leis are garlands that keep both the blossom and its light-green stem showing. Double carnation leis are thicker and project a thick, lush look.