There is a Hawaiian legend built around Naupaka, a shrub with beautiful and unique blooms that appear as half-flowers, with petals amputated. The Hawaiians believe it is the incarnation of an ancient wahine separated from her lover. However, I submit to you that this plant’s legend actually originates from the Jungle Flower room of Denver, Colorado. The Naupaka Flower is more likely the story of Lina, the Rockabilly Plant Princess, and Chris, the Sacrificial Lover, who annually loses body parts to sustain a tropical paradise.
It took a while for the Rockabilly Plant Princess and the Sacrificial Lover to find their true identities. Even though Lina was deeply rooted in punk rock, swing dance, and rockabilly culture in Vegas, she didn’t yet identify with Tiki culture. Even though she regularly attended weekenders dressed up in vintage Hawaiian couture with pool parties, she couldn’t yet identify with Tiki culture. Even though one of Chris’ favorite restaurants was a Chinese Tiki palace in frigid Edmonton, Canada (where he grew up), he didn’t yet identify with Tiki culture. Even though their wedding was held at the Imperial Palace with a luau reception complete with fire dancers, they still did not identify with Tiki culture. Even when they attended Tiki conventions and were invited to be a part of social gatherings, they were still a touch reluctant. But, the desire for true self was growing all those years. The exotic seeds finally germinated when Chris decided to turn their covered patio into a three season room. Lina suddenly announced that the room would become a tropical jungle oasis called the Jungle Flower, and the rest is legend.
Read the rest of the story in Polynesiacs: Tiki at Home, page 140.
Jungle Flower, Denver, Colorado