Pua Kenikeni

Do you know how pua kenikeni got its name? While these flowers are not native to Hawaiʻi, they are incredibly popular in lei for their beautiful fragrance. You used to be able to buy one of these amazing lei for just 10 cents! “Pua kenikeni” literally means "ten cent flower."

Blue Pua Kenikeni Eke Holo
Cream Pua Kenikeni Eke Holo


Indigenous to islands throughout the South-West pacific, pua kenikeni (Fagraea berteriana) goes by many different names in the places it’s found. Regardless of location, pua kenikeni is one of the most fragrant flowers anywhere. For that reason, it was introduced in Hawaiʻi modernly and continues to be cultivated in gardens and nurseries today.

Girls in Pua Kenikeni shorts

For its fragrance, pua kenikeni quickly became a staple in Hawaiian lei making. Typically, flowers are strung together in a kui style of lei (sewn with a needle and thread). The admiration of this lei has left lasting impressions leading many to compose songs in recognition of its beauty. One of our favorite songs, entitled Lei Pua Kenikeni, was composed by John K. Almeida and is performed in the video below by our dear friend Mark Yamanaka.

Lei Pua Kenikeni
by John K. Almeida

No ka lei aloha, lei pua kenikeni
Koʻu hiaʻai a me koʻu hoʻohihi
Ke ʻala hoʻoheno kaʻu aloha
I ka ne mai e welina kāua
Kāua i ka nani aʻo ia pua
I ka hana hoʻoipo a ke onaona
Onaona lei nani lei hoʻohie
Hoʻoipo, hoʻoulu māhiehie
Māpu ʻala hoʻoheno i ka poli
Lanikeha i ka ʻike a ka maka
Eia nō ka puana o ke mele
No ka lei pua kenikeni he inoa

Babies walking in Pua Kenikeni diapers

This print was created by our dear friends at Mahina Made. Check out all of their products at mahinamade.com

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