I did not know anything about puakenikeni flowers until my daughter requested a lei made of this fragrant flowers to send to her on her birthday. She was working in Las Vegas at the time. So I went looking in every florist shops but nobody seemed to have it. Her birthday month is January and the flower shops people are telling me it is not in season. I send her a white ginger lei instead but I think she’d rather have the puakenikeni. I don’t blame her because when I finally found some leis made of these heavenly scented flowers I got curious and look everywhere to see how the plant looks like and if I can grow it myself. I found one, of all the places, in Ala Moana Center Mall. The puakenikeni plant is actually a tree about 5 to 7 feet tall. I knew it was the puakenikenii because it has a label on it. The plant has flowers too and as you can see in the picture it got bees hovering on the flowers. They must really like the scent of the puakenikeni.
I’ve done a little research and puakenikeni literally means “ten cents flower” in Hawaii because each lei costs ten cents. That was amazing! I don’t think you can buy lei made of puakenikeni for ten cents nowadays.

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