The endemic ʻŌhiʻa, Metrosideros Polymorpha, is one of Hawaiʻi’s most iconic trees known for its beautiful vibrant red blossoms, the lehua. As popular as this tree is with locals of Hawaiʻi, few recognize that the red “blossom” they see is actually a mass of stamen that gives the ʻōhiʻa lehua its unique look and texture.
The fire goddess, Pele met a handsome warrior, ʻŌhiʻa, and asked him to marry her. ʻŌhiʻa, however, had already pledged his love to another - Lehua. When her marriage proposal was refused, the fiery goddess Pele turned ʻŌhiʻa into a twisted tree.
Heartbroken, Lehua mourned for her lost lover, crying tears of sadness. The gods took pity on them and decided that the two lovers should not be separated and turned Lehua into a flower on the ʻŌhiʻa tree so they could be joined together for eternity.
It is believed that if lehua is plucked from the ʻōhiʻa separating the lovers, it will rain.