Naupaka Flowers Forbidden Love

Photo by Kapalama

Naupaka of the ocean

Naupaka Kahakai by David Eickhoff


The Naupaka flower is native to the islands of Hawaii. It has a distinctive shape and a gental scent. It looks like the other half of the flower is missing.  The legend has been told many of times before and it explains the occurrence of the Naupaka flowers forbidden love.

There are several legends from Hawaii that tell the origin of the beach and mountain forms of Naupaka. Both of which produce these unusual half-flowers. In this version, a princess was forbidden to marry her true love, a fisherman, because he was a commoner. An elderly wise man told them of a faraway heiau or temple where they should pray and ask the priest their for his guidance.

They traveled many tiresome nights before they came upon the temple. When they finally got to share their story of love, the priest was unable to help them. With their hearts aching they returned home. As they parted ways forever, she took a white flower from her hair and tore it in half. She then gave one half to him and kept the other half for herself.

She returned to the mountains where her family lived. Heartbroken, they both cried and planted their halves of the naupaka flower.  Each half grew and became the two forms of naupaka, the beach naupaka kahakai, and the mountain naupaka kuahiwi.

Naupaka Kuahiwi

Naupaka Kuahiwi  Photo by weedmandan

That is the reason why there are two variations of the naupaka plant. One grows in the mountains, and one grows on the near the ocean. When each flower is put next to the other, it’ll look like one flower.

You will find these gentle smelling flowers in various areas on the islands.  The more delicate “female” mountain Naupaka flower has more of a fragrance than the Naupaka Kahakai variety. The kahakai Naupaka grows wild on the beaches and on the mountain hiking trails you will find Kuahiwi Naupaka.

See Related Article:

Tropical Flower That Will Make You Think Of Hawaii