A Botanical Tour of Maui

From wild jungles to manicured resorts, the tropical climate of Maui grows the most lush, natural backdrops. However, most tropical plants you might associate with Hawaii, like bird of paradise, plumerias, torch ginger- even pineapples and coconuts, are not native to Hawaii. These and other species were introduced long ago, and they have become symbols of aloha in the islands.

There are about 1,200 indigenous flowering plant species in Hawaii, including trees, shrubs, herbs, and ferns. Around 90% of these plants are endemic to Hawaii, meaning they are found nowhere else in the world.

Among the most prolific native flowering plants is the Hibiscus, or Hau in Hawaiian. There are actually seven native Hawaiian Hibiscus species, including the Hibiscus brackenridge pictured, which is also the Hawaii State flower.

Exploring Native Plants on Maui

Did you know Maui has a botanical garden right in the center of the island? Maui Nui Botanical Gardens (MNBG) is dedicated to the protection of Maui Nui’s rich native plants and cultural heritage. It offers easy access to learning about native and Polynesian-introduced plants, also known as “canoe plants” because they arrived with the first Hawaiian voyagers in outrigger canoes. MNBG is a wonderful gathering place to walk through a 6-acre park and explore, for a low admission of $10 (free for kids under 12, members and kamaaina). This self-guided tour includes access to audio messages using your cell phone via a QR code for more than 102 plant species. There is also a docent-led tour option, with demonstrations and stories that will engage guests for an hour. The guided experience is $40 for visitors, $20 for kamaaina, and can be booked online here.

Love Gardening? Check out These Resources

Avid gardeners know when native species are perpetuated, they support local ecosystems, maximize water use efficiency in irrigated landscapes, and provide materials for use in regional culture.

Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR), has a native plant landscaping guide that contains photos of many of the flowering shrubs and trees you will see in visitor areas on Maui.

No matter where you live, you can grow your own native garden or landscaping plan. This article by My Home Park will help you get started, reviewing local growing conditions, preparing a planting area, and choosing plants. Creating a natural environment can also be purposely low maintenance and sustainable, not to mention the birds and bees will love you for it!

2024-05-12T12:04:32+00:00May 12th, 2024|Culture, Environment|

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Destination Maui Vacations
Administrative Office: 380 Huku Li'I Place, Suite 206
Kihei, HI 96753
Copyright © 2024 Destination Maui Vacations. All Rights Reserved.