Beach Naupaka Flowers (Scaevola sericea)

Scaevola sericea

Beach Naupaka (Scaevola sericea)
Location: Kohala Coast, Big Island, Hawaii

One of the most common coastal shrubs in Hawaii is the Beach Naupaka (Scaevola sericea) -- called 'naupaka kahakai' in the Hawaiian language.  This bushy shrub with the glossy green leaves grows naturally above the tide line at beaches all over the islands.   It is salt-tolerant and easy to cultivate, so it also is used as a landscaping hedge, especially at elevations near sea level.

Naupaka kahakai, pictured here, is the beach naupaka.  Naupaka kuahiwi (Scaevola chamissoniana) is a closely related shrub that grows in the mountains.  Both have delicate white blossoms that look like half-flowers.

A Hawaiian legend tells us why there are two kinds of Naupaka, and why the flowers look like half-flowers.   There are several versions of the legend, and the details vary, but the gist is this: Two young lovers were forbidden to be together.  One of the pair had to live in the mountains and the other had to live near the ocean.  The girl picked a white flower and cut it in two, giving half to her lover and keeping the other half for herself.  Eventually the gods turned each of the lovers into a shrub that bore a half-flower.  One of those shrubs was made to grow in the mountains, and the other at the beach.

3 comments:

Becky and Gary said...

Interesting flower Bobbie, and even more interesting is the story.
B.

BNS said...

Thanks, Becky.

gejora said...

beautiful flower :) how I can get it here ??