Maui Discussion

Ask the Mayor: Restrictions on Flowers/Fruits Flown to Mainland

November 16, 2014, 1:44 PM HST
* Updated November 24, 7:40 AM
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Photo by Wendy Osher.

Photo by Wendy Osher.

The mayor answers questions from the public in this series.

By Mayor Alan Arakawa

Q: What kinds of flowers/fruits can I take with me when I visit my relatives on the Mainland?

I heard that certain kinds of fruits and lei are prohibited from leaving the State; how do I find out in advance so I can avoid having items confiscated at the Ag inspection station at the Airport?

A: Because of the pesky fruit fly, our papayas, bananas and citrus fruits cannot be taken out of the state by private individuals.


Maile, orchid and tuberose lei are fine as long as they pass inspection, but any lei containing citrus leaves, including kukui nut or other lei with pieces of mock orange leaves in-between, are not allowed.


Other lei prohibited for Mainland travel include Hala (Pandanus), Maunaloa, Kaunaʻoa (Dodder), Sea Grape, Blue Jade Plant and Kikania (round, bright red-colored seeds).

Photo by Wendy Osher.

Photo by Wendy Osher.

Other prohibited items not allowed for export to the US Mainland include sugarcane, raw sweet potato, untreated, fresh fleshy or pulpy fruits and vegetables, berries including fresh coffee beans, cactus, cotton, and live insects and snails.

Cut flowers, foliage or allowed fruits must be “certified pest-free” by the US Department of Agriculture, regardless of how they are transported to the Mainland (i.e. hand-carried, baggage, cargo shippers, USPS, or other expedited shippers).


All rooted and propagated items such as potted plants must pass inspection by the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture.

To call DOA: ph. 873-3555; to reach USDA’s Maui office, call 877-5261. For more information online, including plants allowed for travel to foreign countries, pet quarantine and animal diseases, visit

A copy of the DOA’s handy Ag inspection brochure for US Mainland travel has been posted on my blog at; click on “Mayor’s Update” on the left.

Want to Ask the Mayor?

Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email: [email protected], phone: 270-7855 or mail: 200 S. High Street, 9th Floor, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.

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