When you are in Hawaii, you may notice a unique tree with twisted looking branches and a brigt red bloom. That’s the ohia tree. It’s native to Hawaii and can be found on all the islands.
I like to think of this tree as being the little train that could of the tree family. The reason being is it is one of the first trees to grow in lava. What determination! In fact when you visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island, you’ll probably notice ohia bushes and ferns providing the first dots of vegetation in a field of lava.
There’s an interesting Hawaiian legend tied to the ohia tree and its flower, the lehua blossom. As you might expect, the legend is tied to the volcano goddess, Pele. The legend says that one day Pele met a handsome warrior named Ohia and she asked him to marry her. The problem was Ohia had already pledged his love to Lehua. Pele was furious when Ohia turned down her marriage proposal, so she turned Ohia into a twisted tree. Lehua was heartbroken, of course. The gods took pity on Lehua and decided it was an injustice to have Ohia and Lehua separated. So, they turned Lehua into a flower on the Ohia tree so that the two lovers would be forever joined together. That’s a bit of a fiery love story, isn’t it?