The Orchid Isle
Hawaii Island is the native home to just three of the 15,000 to 20,000 species of orchids making the orchid family the largest in the plant kingdom. However, visitors here will be mesmerized and delighted by the thousands of different orchids to experience thanks to the hundreds of growers who cultivate them --- so much so, that the Island of Hawaii is known as The Orchid Isle. Orchids have evolved in unusual sizes, shapes and colors to attract the insects, birds and even some bats for pollination, in the wild.
Four of the introduced orchid species growing wild here are seen during walks in Hawaii's rainforest areas and along roadways. Some cling to trees in the rainforest. The most common orchids are grown in Hawaii for the making of lei for ceremonies and everyday wear. One of the most common orchid that visitors will have no problem noticing is the small purple pedals strung individually into beautiful lei, used in culinary decorations and perched on the rim of tropical drinks.
Hawaii farmer markets and orchid growers are where visitors will be able to purchase orchids. And, if you want to take an orchid home as a lasting souvenir of Hawaii, or have one sent, many of the growers have their plants certified for export by travelers and/or by indiviual postage.
It's worth a visit to the Akatsuka Orchid Gardens where there is a large variety of orchids on display and for purchase
(Just before Volcano Village when you come from Hilo).