In Hawaiian mythology, handsome 'Ohi'a, in love with beautiful Lehua, rejected Pele who loved him, too. Enraged, the jealous volcano goddess turned 'Ohi'a into a tree. Other gods transformed the heartbroken Lehua into the flower of the 'Ohi'a tree. On the day you pick the lehua blossom, you are separating the lovers and it will rain.
Folklore aside, the 'Ohi'a Lehua plant was important to early Hawaiians. The wood created weapons, leaves made a medicinal drink, and the seeds fed native birds.
Today, the hearty ʻŌhia rises from lava rock and blooms at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Hula dancers wear lehua blossoms in lei headbands, around wrists and ankles. 'Ohi'a branches create traditional kalaau, or dancing sticks.