Monday, December 10, 2012

Puakenikeni - the "ten cent flower"


Puakenikeni, Kane'ohe Hawai'i

Puakenikeni is one of my favorite Hawaiian flowers. The smell is very strong and unique. Some may say the smell is similar to this or that but it really is a unique smell of its own. I once planted this small tree in my front yard out by the road. I now live in a condo and no longer have my tree. It is very common to put a few of these flowers in your car for a wonderful smell all day. Whenever leaving home I would stop off and place a couple in my truck. The flower does not last long and it will be wilted and gone by the end of the day, no matter how you treat it. The Puakenikeni is often used to make lei and has a very wonderful smell. The lei will bruise easily because the flower is very fragile. It is sometimes hard to find this lei because of that. The flowers range in color from almost white to a deep orange. When they first open they are white, as they get a couple hours older they begin to darken. The lighter color is desived because they will last longer. If you put your lei in your room before going to bed, your whole house will smell wonderful!

Cultivation is usually done by air layering but the plant redily produces seeds in a small inedible fruit. I have seen this small tree growing in just about every climate zones and soil types. There is usually always flowers on the plant year round. 

Fagraea berteroana, Gentianaceae (gentian family)

ksid (Palau); mbua, mbua ndina, mbua ni Viti, mbua ni veikua, kandisa (Fiji); peengas, seewur peengas Chuuk); pua (Tonga, Horne Islands, ‘Uvea, Niue, Cooks, Societies, Australs, Rapa, Marquesas); pua Tonga (Tonga); pua kenikeni(Hawai‘i); pualulu (Samoa); pwur, seir pwur (Pohnpei)