Browse All, Native Plant Series

Legend of Naupaka

Note the pricklier and thinner leaves

There are many differing legends of Naupaka plant, with most versions ending with the tragic separation of 2 lovers. One version of this legends begin with a Hawaiian Princess named Naupaka and her desire to marry a commoner  Kaui. Their love goes astray when they realize the Hawaiian Kapu strictly prohibits commoners  from marrying royalty.  The couple decides to seek the direction of a Kahuna for guidance about their dilemma. The Kahuna could personally do nothing,

Note the much smoother waxy leaves of the Beach variety

but does  suggests praying to the gods at the heiau. Unfortunately, the gods could not allow an exception to the rule.  In their sorrow over the gods’ Verdict Naupaka took a flower from her ear and tore it in half and gave one to Kaui. They then separated their ways’, Nau Paka to the mountains Kaui to the seas.The Naupaka plants near by were saddened by the couple plight and began blooming in half flowers the next day. To this day there are forest types and ocean types of Naupakas both which still bloom in their memory.


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