Bird of Paradise

Bird-of-Paradise Malama Torch(TM) at the Queen's Court, Waikoloa.
Bird-of-Paradise Malama Torch(TM) at the Queen’s Court, Waikoloa.

The graceful bird-of-paradise flower inspired Don Yuen to create this Malama Torch™.

Just like the flower, this torch is all about romance and drama. When it is lit, one practically expects Delores del Rio to dance in its light!

Of course, torchlight is so beautiful, that it shows anyone to be as romantic as a movie star, so find a pareu, make a lei, and dance the night away!

Bird-of-Paradise – The Flower

Bird of Paradise flower
Bird of Paradise flower. Image from Wikipedia

Ther bird-of-paradise(Strelitzia reginae), is a large tropical herb  of the family Musaceae (bananas!), and is native to South Africa. The dramatic large blue and orange blossom resembles an exotic bird. It is cultivated as an ornamental in warm climates, as a greenhouse plant, and sold as a florists’ cut flower. Most of the cut birds you will find at the florists have been grown in Hawaiʻi, though there are also nurseries in California which grow them.

For fans of Linnaeus, the bird-of-paradise is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Liliopsida, order Zingiberales, family Musaceae.

I am trying to propagate some bird-of-paradise plants (also known as crane flowers) because I am picturing our Bird of Paradise Malama Torches™flaming brightly amongst them!

Bird of Paradise – The Movie


Bird of Paradise Malama Torch Lit
Bird of Paradise Malama Torch outside a Kohala restaurant.

One of the coolest things about  Selznick’s 1932 Bird of Paradise is that the natives are actually speaking Hawaiian! Although considered a cheesy flick by many who apply today’s standards, I’m actually pretty impressed. An inter-racial romance, natives who are actually native speaking a real native language, cultural clash, and even nudity – pretty strong stuff in 1932! Selznick and crew actually scouted Hawaiʻi and learned a bit about Hawaiian culture. Unfortunately, it is also the movie that began the whole “virgin in the volcano” trope.

It is fun listening to the dialog and trying to understand the Hawaiian when the cast, contemporaries of my grandparents, are speaking. Unfortunately, Del Rio’s accent is so strong I can make out very little of what she is saying, though I did catch the word kaula, “rope,” when she is explaining how she saved McCrea from the shark. The “hula” has certainly been “jazzed up,” but I love the kapa prints on the pareu they are wearing! Falling in love/lust over a forced kiss, not so much. Read more about the movie on the TCM website.