ma‘o hau hele

Waikīkī once had a different profile and vegetation than we see today. The Waikīkī Aquarium’s Gardens provides a glimpse of the diversity of this important native habitat, fascinating plants and their adaptations. The Aquarium has expanded its plantings and helped restore a bit of Waikīkī’s natural lei of native coastal plants, and other protected species. More than twenty native plant species are currently established in the Aquarium’s gardens.

The native yellow hibiscus, Hibiscus brackenridgei is an endangered Hawaiian endemic plant and it is the official state flower of Hawai‘i. It can sometimes grow up to 30 feet tall, but is most often a 3 to 15 foot tall shrub. The large flowers are maroon center, and form singly or in small clusters at the ends of the branches. The specimen in the Aquarium’s garden blooms in Spring. If you are interested in photographing the striking flowers, they generally open in the late afternoon and close again mid-morning.