Protea Flowers

Protea Flowers on Maui Hawaii


Protea flowers are some of the wildest looking and longest lasting flowers grown in the islands. Today I want to share some photos and information about my favorite protea farmers from Anuhea Farms.

The woody stems and hardy blossoms of the Protea flower will also dry well for longer lasting arrangements. I sometimes use them in holiday wreaths. These are the flowers to bring or send home when you want to make a good impression.

Bill of Anuhea Flowers, Makawao, Maui, HawaiiThe soil and weather conditions of upcountry Maui, much like their native habitat of South Africa, is ideal for growing crops of protea. Dry, windswept slopes of Mt.Haleakala, from Kula through Makawao to Olinda are dotted with the explosive pinks, oranges and yellows of these other-wordly flowers.

Bill and Judy Mertins have been farming proteas in Olinda on the slopes of Haleakala since 1993. Their farm is 15 acres, with over 30 varieties of protea. Judy runs a sweet little retail shop called Anuhea Flowers in Makawao. Their flowers are also available on line, they ship all over, and Hale Ho'okipa Inn site has a link for ordering flowers as well.

A Protea Flower plant grows on the slopes of Haleakala, Maui, HawaiiMy favorite are the bright pink Minks, called Duchess, talk about a sexy flower!! I also like the Maui Gold of the Pincushion variety. Their color is so vibrant, they really brighten up an arrangement...and look great standing alone. These are the King variety, the largest blossom.

Aunhea Farms has offered a farm tour in the past, including a historical presentation by Dorothy Pyle, professor of history at MCC. Dorothy is a treasure trove of local historical information. They are prepared to offer a tour if a group of 12 or more are interested with advance notice. It's a great tour.

Many wonderful books are available on the flowers of Hawaii. Proteas in Hawaii by Paul Wood and Ron Dahlquist is an amazing photo journal and story of these colorful wonders. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in botanicals.

It's evident I love promoting our local farmers, merchants, authors and artists... Maui produces the "cream of the crop" and Anuhea Farms is another fine example of "All Things Maui"!

So, brighten up your day, several actually, with some protea from the sunny slopes of Maui.

Protea flowers in a field of protea flowers on Mount Haleakala, Maui, HawaiiAloha for now...the trade winds are blowing today, keeping it fresh!


Ohi'a Lehua

Ohia Lehua - Metrosideros polymorpha
Aloha from sunny upcountry!

My favorite tree in Hawaii is the Ohi'a Lehua. It captivates me for many reasons besides it's beauty and strength.

The Ohi'a is extremely adaptable. It is the first woody plant to establish itself after a lava flow. It has a remarkable range of growth forms, from 1 ' tall to 100 feet tall. I was told that when it was first studied, it was believed to be a few different varieties of trees because of the varied forms it takes.

The beautiful blossom provides staple food for the rare Hawaiian Honeycreeper. The photos I am posting are the two trees at Hale Ho'okipa. The yellow blossomed tree is rare. I was gifted this tree many years ago, and am fortunate that it is growing so well. The honey bees love the blossoms, and organic lehua honey is divine! It is the best honey I have ever tasted.
Ohia Lehua - Metrosideros polymorpha - yellow flower

The tree has an important legend in Hawaiian folklore. Many hulas and chants tell of this love story.

Ohi'a was a young warrior who fell in love with the beautiful Lehua. This was a tragic love as Madame Pele also fell for the warrior, Ohi'a. Pele was angry when he shunned her, and she turned him into a tree with gray leaves and twisted branches. Lehua begged Pele to return him to his human form. She then pleaded with the gods to do the same, "no can". Instead the gods turned the young woman in the beautiful blossoms of the Ohi'a tree called Lehua blossoms so they could be together forever. The legend says that Pele will cause the rain to fall if the blossoms are picked.

The Ohi'a Lehua is the official tree of the Big Island.

So, here's to the honey bees and love stories. Happy Valentine!!