Wednesday, September 2, 2009


The Arabian jasmine (Jasminum sambac), introduced from India, a shrub or climber, with rounded, dark-green leaves and small, white, very fragrant flowers used for lei.
Once you've seen/worn/smelled pīkake, you never forget it. mostly it's the aromatic fragrance. But also its delicate features, so many little white petals, sewn close to each other, releasing more and more scent as its buds begin to unfold. It's no wonder that many, many Hawaiian songs have been composed for this flower. I'm sure many sweethearts were likened to the pīkake flower when they were composed, too!

The pīkake was the favorite flower of Princess Kaʻiulani (the most elegant and beautiful of aliʻi, many pictures of her grace books and walls; she was the daughter of Princess Likelike [sister of Kalākaua & Liliʻuokalani] and Archibald Cleghorn, so she possessed that beautiful hapa haole look). And because her favorite bird was the peacock, she gave the flower the same Hawaiian name as the peacock...pīkake. did you notice how it sounds just like "peacock?" Clever. A beautiful flower and a beautiful bird. I'm sure we can all agree the princess had impeccable taste.

Ke ʻala o ka pīkake, ke moani mai nei - The fragrance of the pīkake is wafting towards me.
ʻO ka lei pīkake ka lei punahele a Uluwehi - The pīkake lei is the favorite lei of Uluwehi.

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