The Legend of the ʻŌhiʻa Lehua Tree and Blossom

The Hawaiian Legend of  how the ʻŌhiʻa Lehua (oh-he ah lay-who-ah) Tree and Blossom got their names.

The story involves Pele, goddess of Volcanoes, and a handsome young warrior named ʻŌhiʻa, on the Big island of Hawaii in the district of Puna. Pele was deeply attracted to the strong and gorgeous warrior,ʻŌhiʻa and was determined to win his affection. ʻŌhiʻa was polite towards Pele at the same time refusing her affection. You see, ʻŌhiʻa very much loved someone else.ʻŌhiʻa’s one true love, was a beautiful maiden by the name of Lehua. Pele could not accept that he would choose a mortal over her.

Pele was unable to tolerate this rejection. Again Pele tried unsuccessfully to win over the heart of ʻŌhiʻa. Wanting what she could not have, the goddess, Pele turned the warrior, ʻŌhiʻa into a twisted tree. This was an old case of “If I can’t have it – no one can!” The other gods heard Lehua’s cries and to make the best of what Pele had already done.  Lehua was turned from human into a flower on the tree that was once her love, ʻŌhiʻa .

Even today this legend continues to be shared. It is said picking the lehua flower from the ʻŌhiʻa tree will separate the couple again and cause rain to fall that day.

This is a very brief explanation, to a beautiful story. Here is a more complete version of the ‘ʻŌhiʻa Lehua Legend”.