The Royal Pīkake Flower

Taylor Martin

Hawaiʻi is known for its tropical climate, white sandy beaches, and diverse flora and fauna. Among its wide variety of plants and flowers, the pīkake flower stands out as one of the most cherished and sought-after blossoms in the archipelago. Its alluring scent and delicate white petals make it a popular choice for leis and other floral arrangements. In this blog post, we will dive into the fascinating world of pīkake flowers, exploring their history, symbolism, cultivation, and uses.


The Origins and Characteristics of the Pīkake Flower

The Pīkake flower, scientifically known as Jasminum sambac, is a species of jasmine native to Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. It is believed to have been introduced to Hawaiʻi from India in the 19th century. In Hawaiian, the word "pīkake" translates to "peacock," and was named by the Hawaiian princess, Kaʻiulani due to its resemblance of the eyespots on peacock feathers.


Princess Victoria Kawēkiu Kaʻiulani Lunalilo Kalaninuiahilapalapa Cleghorn; October 16, 1875 – March 6, 1899)


Cultural Significance of the Pīkake Flower in Hawaiʻi

In Hawaiian culture, the Pīkake flower holds great significance and is considered one of the most precious and beloved flowers. The Pīkake lei is often associated with love, beauty, and romance, and is frequently used in wedding ceremonies and other joyous celebrations.

Legend has it that Princess Kaʻiulani, the beloved heir to the Hawaiian throne, adored the Pīkake flower. She would often wear Pīkake leis, and the fragrance became synonymous with her presence. Today, the Pīkake flower is also known as the "Princess Kaʻiulani flower" in her honor.



Uses of the Pīkake Flower

Pīkake flowers have a wide range of uses in Hawaiʻi. Beyond its ornamental and ceremonial uses, the Pīkake flower is also valued for its aromatic properties. The flowers are carefully harvested and distilled to produce Pīkake essential oil, which is used in perfumes, soaps, and other beauty products. You can find products like these on the Hawaiiverse online store by searching up the word “Pīkake.” Here are a few of the many pīkake related items you can find!

Pīkake Jasmine Essential Oils Fabric & Furniture Refresher - 2 oz 

Pīkake Lei Jasmine Body Oil / Perfume Roller 15ml


    In conclusion, the Pīkake flower holds a cherished place in the heart and traditions of Hawaiʻi. Its delicate white blossoms and intoxicating fragrance have captivated locals and visitors alike, symbolizing beauty, love, and reverence. Throughout history, the Pīkake has been closely associated with Hawaiian royalty, adorning their garments and surroundings during special occasions. Today, it continues to be treasured as a symbol of the islands' natural splendor and cultural heritage.



       Written by: Makana Rivera


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