The plumeria has long been a popular flower in the Hawaiian islands because of the large size of its flowers and the beautiful range of colors. The Hawaiian name is melia, and the scientific name is Apocynaceae. Each flower has large peals in a cluster of five, and each petal generally has two to three colors. The plumeria has a strong scent, and there are different scents for the different varieties. The scents may be sweet, fruity or citrusy. There are white and yellow varieties of the plumeria, pink varieties and those that contain yellow, white and pink on each petal. They are not dyed because they already come in attractive, sought-after colors. Refrigerate your plumeria when it arrives and keep it refrigerated until you wear it. Once it is delivered, it will last about one day.
Plumeria trees were brought to Hawaii in the 1800s, and they were used to beautify cemeteries. This made the flowers become associated with death, and it kept Hawaiians from wearing them. However, today they are a popular flower for leis because of their large size, lovely scent and beautiful colors. To make plumeria leis, the loose flowers are made into a single-strand lei by stringing them together. Sometimes, ti leaves are used with Hawaiian plumeria to give the lei some green accents. Plumeria leis are often given as graduation gifts, to greet people and worn to add a festive air to parties. And because of the early association between death and these flowers, they are often worn by those who are decorating graves. The fresh plumeria leis below are made from one of the most beautiful and sought-after flowers in Hawaii.