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“Rescuing Hi’ilani” – Natural Beauty of Hawaii – the Botanical Edition – Part 2

Operation Alpha – Susan Stoker – Stoker’s Aces

Another plant that you’ll ‘see’ in the book is Puakenikeni  (Poo-ah-keh-nee-keh-nee)

Grown on a plant that can go from a bush to a tree after sufficient time, the blossoms bloom and look like a long trumpet, like a datura, but instead of a mouth/head with a pointed star, the Puakenikeni have five rounded petals that point back toward the stem.

The pearly white blooms are beautiful, but if you want the best scent…  wait until they are a yellow/orange color. At that point, the blooms have a heady floral perfume… but there’s a catch at this point in the flower’s life. They will turn orange on the bush/tree or if they’ve been picked, like a banana getting its spots when it becomes ripe.

If you are lucky enough to receive a lei made of these blooms, treat it with tender care! The blossoms are somewhat fragile. Too much handling and it will bruise and turn brown…

And unlike a banana, the brown doesn’t help the blossom’s smell… and please do NOT eat it..

But if you are ever lucky enough to smell these flowers, treasure that moment… it will be a memory worth keeping.

February 8, 2019



  1. Reply

    Caroline Clemmons

    February 9, 2019

    A gardenia turns brown if you touch it but I love the scent. I’d love to visit Hawaii sometime. But, then, I love to travel and seldom do anymore.

    • Reply


      February 26, 2019

      True.. another of my favorite flowers… as a child I had a Tahitian Ginger Tree outside my window… it reminded me of a gardenia by the smell

  2. Reply


    July 18, 2019

    I have gardenia bushes in my yard and they don’t turn brown like they do on the mainland when touched. Same wonderful fragrance though. Can’t take them to the mainland because they have little tiny bugs they don’t have there but are easy to take off by dunking the flower in soapy water.

    • Reply


      September 2, 2019

      the scent is the best part for me… well, tied with the texture of the petals… Okay, I like the whole thing 😀


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