Like so many Hawaiian legends, the bittersweet story of the naupaka plant is a lover's story.
In a time when gods ruled Hawai'i, Princess Naupaka fell in love with a commoner named Kaui. The princess knew she could not marry her beloved because he was a lowly fisherman.
Together, the two traveled far and wide and hoped to find a solution so they could be together. One day, they climbed up a mountain to speak to a wise man, a kahuna. When the kahuna admitted he could not help them, the lovers embraced for the last time. Princess Naupaka wiped away her tears, then took the flower from her hair and ripped it in half. She handed half of the flower to Kaui and begged him to go live on the beach. She kept the other half of the flower and said she would live on the mountain.
To this day, the naupaka plant grows at the beach and on the mountain, each bearing half flowers like the one in the photo.
Jackie Marilla writes contemporary romance from the Hawaiian Islands and beyond. She and her husband live on a macadamia nut farm on the island of Hawai’i where they feed a clowder of cats and a flock of hodgepodge chickens. In a past life, she was an elementary school teacher.