For Fijians, this flower is viewed rarely enough to enhance its sacred status; for the rest of us, a photograph like the one above is like a siren call to come, behold it:
TAVEUNI ISLAND, Fiji — In Fiji, flowers can take on a spiritual, magical significance. They are strung together as garlands for ceremonies and festivals or worn as an ornament behind the ear on any given day.
The South Pacific archipelago is home to about 800 species of plants found nowhere else in the world. But the most special is the tagimoucia, a crimson and white flower that hangs down in clusters like a chain of ruby raindrops. Because of its beauty and rarity, it has attained a kind of celebrity status.
“Just to touch it and see it with my own eyes,” said Lina Sena, 41, her sentence trailing off as she held a clipping recently. “See how we are treating it? It is history.”
Except for scattered sightings on a neighboring island, the flower grows only on a single mountain ridge on Taveuni, one of the northern islands.
The tagimoucia is the unofficial floral emblem of Fiji and has a prime position on the nation’s $50 bill. But to Fijians, its significance stems from several legends of romance and heartbreak.
Seeing the flower “was on my bucket list,” said Ravi Kumar, 31, who grew up in Fiji but later moved to Australia.
Mr. Kumar spent a recent day on Taveuni, traipsing through the forest before finally sighting the flower atop its woody vine. Taveuni, known as the Garden Island for its rich volcanic soil and farming, is crowned with dense, dark rain forest that is often shrouded in mist…
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