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Photo Gallery: Garden of Eden

Updated on August 30, 2017
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Part-time farmer, part-time traveler, Viet Doan lives in Puna on the Big Island of Hawaii with his partner and a lazy old cat.


In Hawaii, thanks to the year-round warm climate and abundant rainfall, there are always flowers in bloom in gardens all over the islands. Ginger, heliconia, anthurium, plumeria, and hibiscus are some of the most prolific flowering plants. They are also known for their stunning blossoms and varieties. Many of these plants are also found in the subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world. In the U.S. mainland, you may have seen them for sale at local nurseries, even planted them in your gardens or kept as a houseplant. Some are hardier than others, but all of them need protection from cold temperature - along with plenty of water and sunlight - in order to thrive in areas that are not similar to their native habitat.

Passionfruit flowers (Passiflora sp.)
Passionfruit flowers (Passiflora sp.) | Source

The flowers in this photo gallery were photographed in the author’s garden and other gardens in the coastal Puna area (USDA zone 12b) on the Big Island of Hawaii . The photos were taken during a garden tour with friends and visitors. You may click on any photo to view the original full size.

Red ginger (Zingiber sp.)
Red ginger (Zingiber sp.) | Source
Peacock poinciana (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)
Peacock poinciana (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) | Source
False bird-of-paradise (Heliconia sp.)
False bird-of-paradise (Heliconia sp.) | Source

Heliconia (Heliconiaceae family) is very popular in flower arrangements at weddings and ceremonies in Hawaii. There are more than 200 varieties, sometimes referred to as lobster claw, parrot flower or false bird-of-paradise. Heliconia grows well in humus-rich soil and needs a lot of water. Most heliconias bloom all year-round, though some have a specific flowering season. There are heliconia varieties that can grow as tall as 50-60 feet! Did you know that banana is a close relative of heliconia?

Lobster claw heliconias (Heliconia sp.)
Lobster claw heliconias (Heliconia sp.) | Source
Orange ginger lily (Hedychium sp.)
Orange ginger lily (Hedychium sp.) | Source

Ornamental ginger (Zingiberaceae family) also has hundreds of varieties that produce many different flower shapes and forms. Some varieties have blossoms that are extremely fragrant! Given plenty of moisture and filtered sunlight, ornamental ginger can spread quickly, sending their rhizomes (botanical term for root) everywhere in the garden. In Hawaii, you may see them growing happily in the wild: along the roadside or under the canopy of a rainforest. Edible ginger and turmeric (used in Asian cuisine and cooking) are in the same family as ornamental ginger.

White and red torch ginger (Etlingera elatior)
White and red torch ginger (Etlingera elatior) | Source
Pink torch ginger (Etlingera elatior)
Pink torch ginger (Etlingera elatior) | Source
Bicolor flower of Anthurium sp.
Bicolor flower of Anthurium sp. | Source

Anthurium (Araceae family) is not native to Hawaii but has always been associated with the image of the Hawaiian tropical islands (i.e. you usually see them on a vacation/travel brochure). The attractive heart-shaped flower blooms in an incredible array of size, shape, color and pattern! Anthurium loves shade and mostly thrives in shaded areas. They make great cut flowers because they can last up to a month in a flower arrangement! Anthurium is a major export crop for Hawaii’s flower industry. You can buy a fresh bouquet of anthuriums from Hawaii and have it shipped directly to you anywhere in the world!

Blue thunbergia vine (Thunbergia grandiflora)
Blue thunbergia vine (Thunbergia grandiflora) | Source
Blue ginger (Dichorisandra thyrsiflora) is actually in the spiderwort family
Blue ginger (Dichorisandra thyrsiflora) is actually in the spiderwort family | Source
Pink quill bromeliad (Tillandsia cyanea)
Pink quill bromeliad (Tillandsia cyanea) | Source
Crepe ginger (Costus speciosus)
Crepe ginger (Costus speciosus) | Source
'Stansill's Double'  allamanda flowers (Allamanda cathartica)
'Stansill's Double' allamanda flowers (Allamanda cathartica) | Source
Pink orange frangipani (Plumeria sp.)
Pink orange frangipani (Plumeria sp.) | Source
Red lantern hibiscus (Hibiscus schizopetalus)
Red lantern hibiscus (Hibiscus schizopetalus) | Source

Most gardens in Hawaii have hibiscus (Malvaceae family) and plumeria (Apocynaceae family) growing. Plumeria (also called frangipani) has a close connection with the Hawaiian culture. It’s popular in leis making and used to adorn hula dancers. Some plumeria species are cultivated for their exquisite fragrant. Hibiscus comes from a large botanical family containing several hundred species. It’s probably the most widely recognized tropical flower in Hawaii. Hibiscus comes in all sizes and shapes, and can be singles or doubles. The showy blossoms are in so many different colors, shades and hues: white, yellow, orange, red, pink, brown, maroon, violet, purple, and even dark bluish to almost black! There are 7 native hibiscus species found in Hawaii. The beautiful ma’o hau hele yellow hibiscus (Hibiscus brackenridgei) is the official state flower of Hawaii.

'Wood's White Knight' waterlily (Nymphaea sp.)
'Wood's White Knight' waterlily (Nymphaea sp.) | Source
Tropical iris (Dietes grandiflora)
Tropical iris (Dietes grandiflora) | Source
Jamaican lilikoi flower (Passiflora sp.)
Jamaican lilikoi flower (Passiflora sp.) | Source
Red passion flower (Passiflora sp.)
Red passion flower (Passiflora sp.) | Source
Shell ginger (Alpinia zerumbet)
Shell ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) | Source


The author got lost more than once during the garden tour, he was too busy snapping pictures! His favorite tropical flowering plant is the shell ginger. The flower buds look like little pink sea shells on the beach.

All photos were taken by the author with a SamsungPL120 DualView 14.2MP Digital Camera.

All Rights Reserved

Copyright © 2013 Viet Doan (punacoast)


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    • punacoast profile image

      Viet Doan 3 years ago from Big Island, Hawaii

      Thank you oliversmum! Glad you enjoyed a tour of my tropical garden hub. The red lantern hibiscus is also one of my favorite flowers. Easy to grow and blooms all the time. Aloha!

    • oliversmum profile image

      oliversmum 3 years ago from australia

      Punacoast Hi. It sure is a Garden Of Eden and more. Such absolutely beautiful flowers. The photographs are absolutely amazing. If I had to choose, the orange ginger lily and red lantern would be my favorite. Thank you for sharing this beautiful part of our world with us. Thumbs up and Awesome. :) :)