The story about ‘Ōhiʻa And Lehua goes like this…
Pele liked a particular good looking man named ‘Ōhiʻa and wanted him for herself. But ‘Ōhiʻa loved another woman named Lehua. Pele was furious about this so she transformed ‘Ōhiʻa into a gnarly twisted tree. Lehua begged Pele to break the spell, but Pele refused. Lehua beseeched the other gods to intervene, but the best they could do was transform Lehua into a beautiful blossom to adorn the tree. So when it rains in the ‘Ōhiʻa forest, it’s believed that it’s the tears of these two lovers. It’s also said that when a Lehua blossom is picked, it will rain and that rain is the tears of ‘Ōhiʻa and Lehua because they are being separated.
There are a number of Hawaiian gods and goddesses associated with ‘Ōhiʻa lehua besides Pele…Kū, Hiʻiaka, Kāne, Kapo and Laka.
Lehua blossoms are the most popular flower you will see at Merrie Monarch…at least up until a few years ago when an invasive disease called Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death (ROD) ravaged our beautiful forests.