18 May 2012

Orchid shortage thins leis for American Samoa college graduates

6:53 pm on 18 May 2012

A florist in American Samoa says a reduced supply of orchids from Thailand means college graduates will be wearing thinner leis at their ceremonies this week.

The owner of Vai's flowers, Fou Imo, says last year's flooding in Thailand has resulted in fewer flowers being sent to Hawaii, where she is having trouble buying enough orchids.

She says this is a busy time of year with graduation following on from Mother's Day.

Fou Imo says the orchid leis are shorter and thinner and some of the single strands of orchids have plastic dividers, prompting customers to question the look of the leis.

"Why is it more expensive and they're more uglier this year? So what I did is, before I gave it to them, I have to go through the whole scenario of explaining the orchid shortage in Thailand, so that way you'll give them more you know it'll give them an idea of why the leis look the way they look, 'cause I don't want to sell somebody something they're not satisfied with."

Fou Imo says some people are pre-ordering their graduation leis and others are making do with local flowers.