Metrosideros polymorpha, the ʻōhiʻa lehua, is a species of flowering evergreen tree in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae, that is endemic to the six largest islands of Hawaiʻi. It is a highly variable tree, being 20–25 m (66–82 ft) tall in favorable situations, and a much smaller prostrate shrub when growing in boggy soils or directly on basalt.
It produces a brilliant display of flowers, made up of a mass of stamens, which can range from fiery red to yellow. Many native Hawaiian traditions refer to the tree and the forests it forms as sacred to Pele, the volcano goddess, and to Laka, the goddess of hula. ʻŌhiʻa trees grow easily on lava, and are usually the first plants to grow on new lava flows.
It is a common misconception that the word ʻōhiʻa is used to refer to the tree and that the word lehua refers only to its flowers