Anthurium flowers aren’t native to Hawaii, but they have certainly made themselves at home here in our lush tropical paradise.
If you would like to buy anthurium flowers from Hawaii, please be sure to check out our anthurium flower catalog. But now, let’s get back to our story.
Anthurium Flowers: Where Do They Come From?
Before they decided to make a home for themselves among the volcanoes and beaches of Hawaii, anthuriums grew in the hot, humid rain forests of Central and South America. There they grew undisturbed for thousands of years.
Then one day in 1876 a man who would later become the head gardener of Paris, Edouard Andre, spotted a beautiful plant, while on a botanical expedition in the rain forests of Columbia.
It turned out that this plant was an anthurium plant.
How Did The Anthurium Get To Hawaii?
Edouard sent this magnificent specimen back to Europe and it first landed in Belgium. From Belgium, it was taken to the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens in England, (which claims to be one of the largest gardens in the world, containing one eighth of all the known plant species in the entire world.)
In 1889, Samuel Mills Damon, Hawaii’s Minister of Finance (and also Hawaii’s fourth largest landowner at the time) brought the first anthurium to Hawaii from England. He planted it in the gardens of his estate.
How The Anthurium Flower Developed in Hawaii
In the 1930s and 40s anthuriums spread from Damon’s estate all around Hawaii. Hobbyists began growing anthurium flowers in gardens and even their backyards, under Hapu’u tree ferns or tangerine trees.
The year 1936 was an important year for Hawaii’s anthurium flower industry. This was the year that a red anthurium which came to be known as the Ozaki was found in the garden O. Ozaki in the town of Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. At one point in time, the Ozaki was one of the best selling varieties of anthurium flowers from Hawaii.
1946 marked the discovery of a beautiful orange anthurium called the Nitta. It came from the garden of Asako Nitta and some say that is bears a striking resemblance to the original anthurium discovered by Edouard Andre.
In 1950, Haruyuki Kamemoto, returned to Hawaii after finishing his PhD at Cornell and launches the University of Hawaii‘s anthurium research program, which, as we will soon see, has a significant impact on the anthurium industry in Hawaii.
(As a side note, not only did Kamemoto have a huge impact on Hawaii’s anthurium industry, he also made major contributions to Hawaii’s orchid industry as well.)
1963 was another important year. It marked the release of the Uniwai white anthurium and the Marian Seefurth pink anthurium from the University of Hawaii. The Marian Seefurth anthurium was named after the wife of a man who made a very generous donation to the UH to fund anthurium research. These varieties were the first in a string of new anthurium varieties released by the University of Hawaii.
The Mauna Kea anthurium was released in 1977 by the UH. It is a large white and green obake anthurium variety.
In 1988, the first anthurium to be patented, the Starlight, which was developed by Calvin Hayashi, is introduced to Hawaii’s anthurium industry. It produces red flowers that are mottled with white specks. Mr. Hayashi also developed a dazzling green anthurium called the Midori.
In 1993, the University of Hawaii’s first patented anthurium is released. It is the Kalapana anthurium, which is a red and green obake anthurium flower. It is named after the magnificent black sand beach that was destroyed by a lava flow from the Kilauea Volcano.
Anthuriums on Amazon
Here are a few interesting anthurium related items that I saw on Amazon. I get a small commission from Amazon if you buy something through one of my links. The commission helps me to keep this site running and it doesn’t cost you any extra because Amazon already factors it into the price of all of its products.
Hawaii has a number of plants and animals that are found nowhere else on the planet. It also has a number of plants and animals that have either come here on their own or been brought here by people that now consider Hawaii a second home. Today I would like to share a few of these remarkable plants with you.
The Haleakala Silversword is incredibly rare, it is only found in one place in the entire world, on the summit of mount Haleakala on the island of Maui. It is a very interesting plant that has thin silver colored leaves that look almost like nails sticking out of the stalk of the plant. The leaves are arranged in a circular pattern around the stalk, which grows straight up. It is well worth visiting Haleakala, to see a Silversword, as its crater is an interesting place. It almost looks like the surface of the moon, except for the Silverswords.
The anthurium is not native to Hawaii. In fact, it originally comes from South America and it was brought here in 1850. But Hawaii has done a lot to popularize anthurium flowers. In the 1950s, anthurium growers started developing many of the varieties that we see today. Now you can find heart shaped, tulip shaped or even obake shaped anthuriums and they come in many different colors. When you visit Hawaii, be sure to check out an anthurium farm.
Sandalwood is found in India, Australia and across the Pacific. It was once plentiful in Hawaii, but it was almost wiped out by the Sandalwood trade. The reason Sandalwood is so popular is that it produces a beautiful wood that also smells great. It is often used to build small items like jewelry boxes and chess pieces and its scent lasts for years.
Noni is native to South East Asia and Australia and is widely distributed around the Pacific, including Hawaii. The fruit of the Noni has a horrible smell and taste, sometimes it is called the vomit fruit. In some places it is only eaten when there is nothing else left to eat, when people are on the verge of starving. Here in Hawaii, it is used in traditional medicine. And it appears that scientists are also becoming interested in its medicinal properties. Now there are a number of research studies in progress.
Today I want to tell you about some of my favorite varieties of tropical flowers that grow here in Hawaii. As you well know, Hawaii is a tropical island that never experiences the snows of winter. In fact the temperature seldom drops below 65 degrees. Also, Hawaii has an abundance of sunshine and rain, making it the ideal environment for plants to grow. This ideal environment allows many beautiful varieties of flowers to thrive here.
The first of my favorite flowers are anthurium flowers. The anthurium was brought here more than a hundred years ago from South America. It produces a lovely flower in many different colors. I have seen colors from red all the way to purple. Most of the time, it is shaped like a heart, though some varieties may be shaped like a tulip. A majority of the varieties are unscented, but a few of the tulip varieties smell great.
Heliconias are some of the most exotic looking flowers in the world. You can just imagine how these flowers look, when one of the varieties has been nicknamed, lobster-claws. The can be found near Indonesia and in South America. But they also seem to enjoy growing in Hawaii. The often produce red, orange or yellow flowers in strange configurations.
The Hibiscus plant grows all over the world, including in Hawaii. In fact, Hawaii has made the yellow Hibiscus its state flower. Out of all of the flowers that I am describing today, the Hibiscus is the flower with the most conventional shape. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a beautiful flower. It comes in many colors, including red, yellow, pink and white.
Finally, the orchid is another of those flowers that seems to grow everywhere. But they definitely enjoy it here too. Next to the heliconia, they are one of the most exotic looking flowers. I like how they look almost carnivorous, like they could gobble up a bee that is trying to pollinate it. As far as I know, there is only one edible orchid, the vanilla orchid. And this is grown on Hawaii too.