HONOLULU – The smell of fresh flower lei can only mean one thing, graduation season is here. But this year selections are scarce because of problems overseas, where many popular flowers come from. Some shop owners have had to increase prices, just as the demand is going up.
It's a graduation tradition around the state. Piles of fresh flower lei around the necks of seniors, the season means lei shops are bustling with activity. May to mid June is always the busiest for sellers. But this year, customers may find orchids and tuberose are in short supply.
"They are imported from Thailand, we have our local flowers but the orchids are the ones that is number one to people" said lei shop worker OlaaHanohano.
And those are the imports, affected by the turmoil in Thailand. Severe, violent and deadly protests against the government have killed more than 80, and led to stringent restrictions on exports such as fresh flowers. Buyers say this comes after a bout of bad weather that had already decreased flower production.
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