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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Flowers, Leaves, and Nuts


When you picture someone wearing a Hawaiian Lei, you probably see colorful flowers. And worn by a female (Wahine).

But did you know they make leis out of leaves and nuts, too? And, men (Kane) in Hawaii wear leis, too, usually Kukui Nut, Maile, or Ti Leaf.

In my books, Leilani's favorite type is a pink plumeria lei.

These are some of the more popular styles:

Plumeria (or Melia) Lei—The plumeria is a flower which grows on trees. Very popular choice and comes in many colors such as yellow, white, orange, variegated, and pink.

Maile Lei—Very fragrant leaves worn by men and women. Some are made with an added twist of white orchids. These leis are given at graduations, weddings (the bride, groom, and wedding party), anniversaries, and other celebrations where a person is honored. Thought to be the first plant used for leis in Hawaiian history.

Awapuhi Lei—Made from ginger plants.

Kukui Nut Lei—made from the kukui nut. Comes in black and white, and generally worn by men.

Ti Leaf—Another lei worn by men. The leaves can be woven and braided and sometimes interlaced with orchids (see Okika Lei below.)

Okika Lei—Made from orchids. The dendrobium orchids are known for their durability and longevity. Orchid leis can be found as a single strand, double, and sometimes interlaced with ti leaves.

Tuberose Lei—This is an amazingly fragrant lei. The tuberose flower keeps its scent much longer than others.

Keiki Lei—a child’s lei, generally made of candy.

Mahalo for visiting!


  1. Wow, very interesting! I didn't realize there were leis made out of things besides flowers.

  2. I love leis. Went to a luau once while I lived in Hawaii. It was a private one for a young girl's 16th birthday (I think--can't remember back that far.) I have a picture of her draped in maile leaf leis--beautiful!


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