The spectacular ohai ali’i has a name that means “royal ohai.” It’s Hawaiian name is ohai ali’i, and its scientific name is Ceasalpinia pulcherrima. This unscented flower makes a perfect lei for someone with fragrance sensitivity or allergies. It has become a favorite flower for leis because of its exotic shape and bright colors. The petals have a serrated shape, and its long tendrils resemble feathers. The ohai ali’i comes in reds, pinks and yellows and are never tinted. This flower is delicate, but with refrigeration an ohai ali’i lei will last up to five days.
The ohai ali’i symbolizes prestige and honor, and it’s common for it to be given as a gift to honor the recipient for an achievement. These leis are also worn while dancing the hula. The ohai ali’i isn’t a native Hawaiian flower, though it has become a favorite there. It is thought to have come from the West Indies before being brought to Hawaii. To make ohai ali’i leis, the kui piercing method is often used. The ohai ali’i may be used by itself to create a lovely lei, or it may be used with Hawaiian greenery to add some striking green color to the lei. These leis make great birthday presents, gifts for anniversaries, to offer congratulations and can be worn for virtually any occasion. Leis made from this intricate flower can be worn by women and men. The ohai ali’i leis below are made with this unusual flower with its elegant shape and its unique feathery texture.