There is an interesting Hawaiian legend tied to the Ohia tree and its flower, the Lehua blossom. The legend is tied to the volcano goddess, Pele. This story explains that if you pluck this flower, it will rain on the same day (for a tragic reason).
The legend of the Ohia tree and the Lehua blossom
The legend says that one day Pele met a handsome warrior named Ohia and she asked him to marry her. Ohia, however, had already pledged his love to Lehua. Pele was furious when Ohia turned down her marriage proposal, so she turned Ohia into a twisted tree.
Lehua was heartbroken, of course. The gods took pity on Lehua and decided it was an injustice to have Ohia and Lehua separated. They thus turned Lehua into a flower on the Ohia tree so that the two lovers would be forever joined together.
So remember, Hawaiian folklore says that if you pluck this flower you are separating the lovers, and that day it will rain.
(read a longer version of the story here)
Ōhiʻa Lehua: the State Endemic Tree
As an endemic species Ōhiʻa is only found in the Hawaiian Islands. It is the most common native tree in our forest and is ubiquitous from lower elevations to the highest peaks.
You can find these unique trees everywhere on our islands. From the still-smoldering crater of Kīlauea Iki at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on Hawai‘i Island to the weathered Wai‘anae Mountain slopes of West O‘ahu. While their growth is often stunted by harsh conditions especially on recent lava flows, they bloom profusely and often lend vibrant red hue to the stark black landscapes.
To celebrate this unique tree, ʻōhiʻa was awarded the status of state endemic tree in July 2022.