Hawaii is world-famous for its tropical attractions, and its abundance of bright red flowers enhances the islands’ natural beauty. The fiery petals of the native ‘ohi’a lehua and the exotic allure of the hibiscus are just two examples of how the red flowers in Hawaii truly captivate the hearts of both the locals and the tourists that come to the islands.
In this article we will introduce you to some of the red blossoms you may find in the state and provide some information about them so that you can identify these species when you encounter them.
13 Red Flowers in Hawaii
Scientific name: Malvaviscus penduliflorus
The Mazapan plant is known for its beautiful red flowers, although it occasionally produces rare white ones as well. Their blossoms can be seen throughout the year, and the plant has the potential to reach a height of 13 feet.
These flowers resemble drooping, wilted hibiscus buds that never open, earning them the nickname “sleeping hibiscus.” You’ll notice them grow on the edges of disturbed, low-elevation mesic forests.
2. Red Ginger
Scientific name: Alpinia purpurata
Hawaiian floral arrangements frequently feature red ginger as one of their popular red flowers. The red ginger plant typically reaches a height of 15 feet and thrives near lowland forests, trails, and roads.
Although it originates from Malaysia, it has been brought to the islands of Hawaii. In Hawaii, they are often referred to as “graveyard flowers” because they are traditionally placed on the headstones of loved ones.
Scientific name: Anthurium andraeanum
One of the most unusual blooms you may encounter is the anthurium or flamingo flower, which its red spathe or petal-like collar can identify. It also features a spadix that can be white or yellow in color, and this spadix is what holds all of the numerous hermaphroditic flowers. Shady, humid tropical gardens are the perfect environment for them, and they are also cultivated for commercial purposes, such as export and cut flowers.
4. Coral Creeper
Scientific name: Barleria repens
The Coral creeper, a vibrant red floral species, originates from South Africa and has been introduced to the beautiful islands of Hawaii. Its flowers range in color from light red to coral to pinkish purple, with 5 circular, spreading, unequally sized lobes and light purple anthers.
This plant was able to survive and spread throughout the state because of its seed capsules, which burst open when they became dry. Their root systems allow them to grow and spread quickly, so you might also notice them growing as a ground cover in open, sunny areas.
5. Torch Ginger
Scientific name: Etlingera elatior
When you visit the state, this massive perennial blossom may catch your eye because of its five-foot-tall, waxy flowers ranging from red to pink. After 30 days since planting, its flower buds will begin to emerge, and when it’s in full bloom, you’ll be able to observe its 20-25 layers of floral bracts in addition to its 3-4 layers of involuntary bracts.
These ginger plants are among the tallest in Hawaii, and you may commonly see them in floral arrangements.
6. Chinese Hibiscus
Scientific name: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
The Chinese hibiscus plant is originally from Vanuatu but is also commonly found in tropical Asia. These beautiful species are typically found in tropical and subtropical regions, where they are popularly used for decorative purposes.
As they only last a day, you’ll often see these flowers worn in the hair or used as a garnish for food. The wilted blossoms are juiced and transformed into a rich blue-black dye, which is then used to produce shoe-blacking, eyeliner, and mascara.
7. Florida Tasselflower
Scientific name: Emilia fosbergii
Despite its name, Florida tasselflowers are distributed in various tropical and semitropical regions of the world, not just in Florida. The exact origin of this species remains a mystery, with conflicting theories suggesting it may have originated from Africa, Asia, or South America. It has the potential to reach a height of up to 40 inches, and each flower head can contain more than 60 disc florets in shades of pink, purple, or red.
8. Perfumed Passionflower
Scientific name: Passiflora vitifolia
The Perfumed passionflower is a vine species that originates from southern Central America and northwestern South America. The plant produces beautiful red blossoms with a delightful fragrance, and they have a total of 10 red tepals, with 5 functioning as petals and the other 5 as petal-like sepals.
The flowers transform into a fruit with a sweet and edible pulp, and its leaves attract butterfly caterpillars and serve as a source of food for them.
9. African Tulip Tree
Scientific name: Spathodea campanulata
The African tulip tree is the sole species in the Spathodea genus and is naturally found in the tropical dry forests of Africa. It’s widely regarded as one of the most destructive invasive species in the world and has even made its way to Hawaii.
The tree bears stunning reddish-orange blossoms with approximately five petals, measuring 5 inches long. People often enjoy playing with their flower buds, as they can squirt out water from them, and their flowers stand out easily among other trees due to their radiant colors.
Scientific name: Bougainvillea spp.
In Hawaii, you might come across another flower with a vibrant red color known as the bougainvillea. This plant produces flowers that come in various colors, such as white, yellowish, or greenish. However, it’s the floral bracts that truly catch the eye, as they can be found in vibrant shades of pink, red, orange, yellow, purple, or white.
This woody vine can reach heights of up to 40 feet, boasting thorny stems, and thrives in full sun, dry conditions, and fertile soil. Planting them is easy since they can be propagated from stem and root cuttings.
11. Wild Bushbean
Scientific name: Macroptilium lathyroides
The Wild bushbean vine originates from tropical and subtropical America, stretching from Mexico to Argentina, and was later introduced to Hawaii. These plants tend to flourish in various soil types, from deep sands to heavy clays and prefer areas with an annual rainfall range of 750–2,000 mm. Their flowers are red to purple, with larger wing petals than the lower petals, and they bloom in pairs.
12. ‘Ohi’a Lehua
Scientific name: Metrosideros polymorpha
The ‘Ohi’a lehua is a flowering evergreen tree only found in the state of Hawaii and is considered one of the most common native trees you’ll come across on the islands. These trees can reach heights of up to 98 ft, particularly in areas with plenty of moisture that promotes their growth.
Its blossoms come in various colors, although red is the most frequently observed shade. They occur in clusters on the terminal ends of the branches and are composed of a mass of stamens that resemble pom poms.
13. Hanging Lobster Claw
Scientific name: Heliconia rostrata
The Hanging lobster claw, also called the false bird of paradise, displays stunning blossoms with bright scarlet-red to pink floral bracts, outlined with shades of yellow and green. These flowers can be spotted blooming throughout the year in the state, providing a vital food source for numerous birds.
Their downward-facing flowers produce nectar, attracting various wildlife. They are commonly planted in lower elevation gardens that are partly shaded to sunny.