Three Types of Hawaii Orchids Native To This State

Updated March 23, 2013 by Carl Harrison


When you step of a plane in Hawaii, you are greeted by an aloha and a beautiful orchid lei is placed on your neck. They are both continually linked: with this beautiful flower seen as sign of welcome to foreigners from the Hawaiian natives. However, there are only three types that were naturally endemic to this state.

Liparis Hawaiensis:

This orchid is fairly rare, found in the rain forests of Hawaii high up in the trees. Typically, you can see this plant blooming from May to November, 2000 to 5000 feet up into the tree canopies. Unlike the colorful large blooms that you see in leis, this one is a tiny flowered species, usually green in color.

Anoectochilus sandvicensis

Often called jewel orchids, this one can be found in most of the Hawaiian islands. Out of the three endemic types, this one is the most common. If you are looking to find a these sparkling ones in its natural environment, take a journey through the rain forests. These plants will usually be found between 1000 and 5000 feet up in the trees.

Platanthera Holochila

The third natural variety of Hawaii orchids is the Plantanthera holochila or the fringed orchid. This particular flower is very rare, so rare, that it is now on the Endangered species list. The flowers are fairly small and are greenish, yellow in color. These plants are terrestrial in nature, and if you’re lucky enough to find one, it will usually be in a bog or a swampy, shady area.

So Where do all of the Other Types Come From?

Hawaii’s warm, humid environment, is a natural breeding ground for these type of plants. As a direct result, several varieties of them have been imported and breed naturally throughout the islands. The botanical gardens in this state house thousands of gorgeous varieties. If you are a true lover of these flowers, take the time to travel to these gardens and immerse yourself into the world of these organisms.

Dendrobium orchids are one of the more popular varieties that are being farmed throughout the islands. These are farmed and then marketed for a variety of consumer needs, from house plants to producing leis. If they are for you then you need to learn all about them here.

However, even with the development of orchid farms throughout the states, it is still nearly impossible to keep up with the demands from the natives and tourists for leis. Consequently, a lot of them found in leis have been imported from Asia, Thailand in particular.

Orchid Culture in Hawaii travels to the rest of North America

Although this state may not have a large amount of natural varieties, it has helped build this beautiful flower’s exotic popularity. Without this exposure, our homes and garden centers in North America may not have been blessed with the many varieties that we see today.


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