With their powerful, sweet aroma and beautiful color variations, plumeria flowers are a memorable part of the Hawaii experience.
Plumeria (also called Frangipani, or “melia” in Hawaii) are worn in hair, strung into leis, used in floral parades, adorning monuments, and lining the streets with sweet smelling sensation. The scent is so pleasant and memorable that it can instantly transport the smeller to tropical paradise.
Although plumeria have a strong role in Hawaii today, they didn’t originate on the islands. Plumeria are actually native to Central and South America, and were brought to the islands after Western contact, only within the last two hundred years. Since that time, Hawaii has become a front-runner at cultivating and creating new, rare varieties.
If you’re interested in cultivating plumeria yourself or understanding the wide variety found on the islands, here is a thorough guide to plumeria in Hawaii from the University of Hawaii.