It was in this garden operated by the University of Hawaiʻi that the state’s first proteas were planted in 1965. Today you can walk through row after row of their colorful descendants. Named for the Greek god Proteus, who was noted for his ability to change form, the varieties are amazingly diverse – some look like oversize pincushions, others like spiny feathers.
Nursery cuttings from the plants here are distributed to protea farms across Hawaii, which in turn supply florists as far away as Europe. To get here, take Copp Rd (between the 12- and 13-mile markers on Hwy 37) for half a mile and turn left on Mauna Pl. Best to call ahead to make sure someone is on-site and to check the weather conditions – the plants are outdoors. May be open on Fridays, but check first. Visitors must sign in.