Puakenikeni Lei: Flowers of Hawaii
Puakenikeni is one of Hawaii’s most fragrant flowers and is often used for flower lei worn by both men and women. Puakenikeni translates to “ten cent flower” in the Hawaiian language—puakenikeni lei were once sold to residents and visitors to Hawaii for only ten cents! The flowers grow on small trees (or large bushes), sometimes growing to 6 feet tall and about 4 feet wide. In fact, puakenikeni trees have been reported to grow 40 feet tall and 30 feet wide! It depends on the age of the tree, the richness of the soil, and the surrounding environment where the puakenikeni tree grows. The flowers range from white to light yellow to rich orange-gold in color. If you pass by puakenikeni when they are in full bloom, you will notice the powerful sweet smell. It’s one of the strongest smelling flowers in the islands!