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Photo Gallery: The rainbow shower trees of Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii

Updated on August 30, 2017
punacoast profile image

The author lives in a quiet seaside community in lower Puna on the Big Island. He's an avid gardener, traveler, and photographer.

Color, beauty and aloha charm of the rainbow shower blossoms in Hilo.
Color, beauty and aloha charm of the rainbow shower blossoms in Hilo. | Source

If you visit Hilo on the east side of the Big Island between May and November, you will witness the spectacular annual blooming of the rainbow shower trees. It’s a stunning visual experience to see such a riotous show of colors: red, pink, yellow, orange, magenta, cream of the cascading blossoms on these trees. As the blossoms mature, their color changes from one to another, so that a blooming rainbow shower tree never looks the same. The peak flowering period is usually from June to August. The blossoms will stay on the trees until late November and as their beautiful petals fall, they blanket the streets, parks and gardens with what local residents affectionately call ‘the Hawaiian snowflakes’!

Rainbow shower trees along Kamehameha Ave on Hilo bayfront.
Rainbow shower trees along Kamehameha Ave on Hilo bayfront. | Source
Blooming profusely!
Blooming profusely! | Source

Rainbow shower tree (botanical name Cassia x nealiae) is a native to the southern Asia continent. It is a hybrid between the golden shower (Cassia fistula) and the pink shower (Cassia javanica). There are several varieties, each with different flower’s color combination, ranging from peachy pink to sherbet orange to almost pure white. The pendulous flower spikes are born along the tree branches, often in such profusion that you could hardly see the attractive dark green oval-shaped leaves.

Rainbow shower is a fast growing ornamental tree. It can reach 65 feet in height and spread out its branches like an umbrella. It is drought tolerant and grows best in hot tropical or subtropical climate. It can be easily propagated by air layering or grafting. In Hawaii, rainbow shower trees are often planted along city streets and in public parks. It is the official tree of the city of Honolulu.

Close-up view of rainbow shower blossoms.
Close-up view of rainbow shower blossoms. | Source


In Hilo, the best place to see rainbow shower trees in bloom is on the scenic bayfront where dozens of the trees line Kamehameha Ave which follows the shoreline of Hilo bay. You can park your car at Bayfront Beach Park, take a stroll underneath the trees for a close up look and be enthralled by the floral kaleidoscopic display above your head!

Another place to see rainbow shower trees is at Lili’uokalani Park & Gardens overlooking Coconut Island, near downtown Hilo. There are several large golden and white shower trees growing in this park as well.

White shower tree
White shower tree | Source


  • White shower tree produces lovely creamy white blossoms, with a hint of lemony yellow. There are several magnificent white shower trees in the parking lot across from Hilo Farmers Market.

Golden shower tree
Golden shower tree | Source
  • Golden shower tree produces brilliant yellow flowers spikes, dangling from the tree branches like mini chandeliers! Best place to see golden shower trees is at the Kawamoto Swim Stadium, as well as along Kamehameha Ave near Mo’oheau County Park.

Pink shower tree
Pink shower tree | Source
  • Pink shower tree produces large showy flower cluster that looks like a perfect bridal bouquet! You can find some of the most beautiful pink shower trees on the campus of Hawaii Community College.

Rainbow shower blooming season in Hilo.
Rainbow shower blooming season in Hilo. | Source


The author dreams about the 'Waltz of the Snowflakes' from The Nutcraker Ballet every time he sees the fallen petals of rainbow shower blossom swirling in the wind! All photos were taken with a SamsungDigimax 301 3.2MP Digital Camera.

All Rights Reserved

Copyright © 2011 Viet Doan (punacoast)


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      It can be easily propagated by air layering.

      Is this true? as i tried a lot but never succeeded .

      I tried a lot in Auroville South India in the year 2005 but failed. Will it be possible to get instructions on how to propagate cassias by air layering as we are rapidly losing the beautiful ones they were originally brought Bangalore in early seventies and again these were originally brought from Hawaii ( about this i am not so sure )

      Thanking you in advance

      Best Regards

    • punacoast profile imageAUTHOR

      Viet Doan 

      7 years ago from Big Island, Hawaii

      Very glad you enjoyed the photos. It's an amazing tree! Thank you so much for visiting and sharing the hub.

      Warm aloha!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      7 years ago from North Texas

      Rainbow shower trees sound so amazing! Incredible that the flowers change colors all the time so that the trees look different even from day to day. Your photos are gorgeous!

      Voted up and BAUI. Will share with my followers!

    • punacoast profile imageAUTHOR

      Viet Doan 

      8 years ago from Big Island, Hawaii

      Thanks Simone for your eloquent comments. Glad the hub brings back good memories of Hilo for you. Come back to the island soon so you can see these lovely trees in bloom. Aloha!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      I have such good memories of Hilo, but do not remember these beautiful trees specifically. There's just so much beautiful vegetation to overwhelm one! Thanks for allowing this one plant to stand apart from the crowd and take a bow :D

    • punacoast profile imageAUTHOR

      Viet Doan 

      8 years ago from Big Island, Hawaii

      Thank you jill of alltrades! So glad you enjoyed the rainbow shower tree. Alas, the blooming season is ending, we will have to wait until next May for another show!

    • jill of alltrades profile image

      jill of alltrades 

      8 years ago from Philippines

      I really enjoyed looking at the beautiful flowers of this rainbow shower tree! I wish I have the tree in my garden.

      Beautiful hub!

      Rated up and beautiful!

    • punacoast profile imageAUTHOR

      Viet Doan 

      8 years ago from Big Island, Hawaii

      You're right Ranihei, it does have the red orange golden colors of fall foliage...Nature is so amazing isn't it? Thank you for your comments.

    • Ranihei profile image


      8 years ago from Richmond, VA USA

      Great pictures! What lovely trees...sort of reminds me of our east coast fall foliage!

    • punacoast profile imageAUTHOR

      Viet Doan 

      8 years ago from Big Island, Hawaii

      Thanks brittanytodd! The island missed you too, come home for a visit soon will you?

      Glad you enjoyed the pictures vasantha Tk...Aloha!

    • punacoast profile imageAUTHOR

      Viet Doan 

      8 years ago from Big Island, Hawaii

      You're so very welcome Farmer Brown...Aloha!

    • Farmer Brown profile image

      Farmer Brown 

      8 years ago

      Thank you once again for a fun and beautiful mini-vacay to Hawaii! Mahalo!

    • vasantha  T k profile image

      vasantha T k 

      8 years ago from Bangalore

      Beautiful pleasant pictures

    • brittanytodd profile image

      Brittany Kennedy 

      8 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

      Beautiful! It makes me miss being home.

    • punacoast profile imageAUTHOR

      Viet Doan 

      8 years ago from Big Island, Hawaii

      Thanks moonlake. Glad you enjoy the pictures.

    • moonlake profile image


      8 years ago from America

      So pretty. Love looking at your great pictures.


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