What Flower Is Used to Make a Hawaiian Lei?

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The Hawaiian lei is traditionally made with the frangipani flower, a fragrant tropical flower grown with white, pink, red or yellow petals. Frangipani flowers produce a poisonous sap that is milky in color and can irritate the skin, making stringing leis a delicate procedure.

In addition to the frangipani flower, there are other tropical flowers used to make leis. The orchid, lokelani and the pupu flower are popular variations for leis, and the flowers’ use in leis are specific to individual islands. The eight Hawaiian islands have all incorporated their own version of the lei with flowers that represent the lei’s island of origin.