Pua keni keni is a large tree that produces sweet-smelling flowers. Thick glossy green leaves contrast with the yellowish to orange flowers. The intoxicating scent continues throughout the year as the tree is always in bloom.
It was imported to Hawaiʻi before 1900. The first historical planting may have been at Maunawili in windward Oʻahu. It was a botanical craze due to the prolific sweet-smelling flowers. The tree was widely propagated as the flowers were perfect for lei making-Pua keni keni translates to “10 cent flower”, the cost of a single flower.
To easily harvest the flowers, keep the tree pruned to a compact shape. It grows well in the shade or sun. It thrives in well-drained soil and needs ample water in dry areas.
- Cultural significance
- Lei flower
- Privacy / screening
- No dangers