Thousands of Tahitian Gardenia flowers are harvested every day in Tahiti to make into leis. These are garlands of flowers made into elaborate necklaces as well as headpieces known as “hei”. They signal love, affection, friendship and appreciation between two people and are given as a welcome gift when you arrive in the Tahitian islands. They are also very popular for marriage ceremonies.
The botanical name of this flower is gardenia taitensis and they grow on a bushy evergreen tropical shrub to four metres. The flowers are a creamy white pinwheel shape and highly fragrant. Their beauty and fragrance has resulted in them being selected as the national flower of French Polynesia and the Cook Islands, but they originated in Western Polynesia and Melanesia and were brought to French Polynesia and Hawaii from there.
A Tiare flower worn behind the left ear means the wearer is taken, the right ear they are available. Waved behind the head it means follow me.
They are the main ingredient in the famous Monoi Tiare Tahiti a famous perfume oil. The Tiare Flowers are hand picked and then laid unopened in coconut oil for fifteen day to obtain the perfume extract. This perfume oil began in 1942 and now not only the original oil but other oils are available as well. Monoi with Jasmine sambac flowers or Pikake as they are otherwise known. Monoi with Franjipani or Plumeria flowers. Monoi with Ylang Ylang, Vanilla, Coco and Sandalwood.
These oils are not only known for their wonderful scentual aromas but have beauty and healing benefits for the skin. Try some Monoi Tiare for yourself