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Frangipani flowers.jpg
Plumeria sp.
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Rauvolfioideae
Tribe: Plumerieae
Subtribe: Plumeriinae
Genus: Plumeria
L. [1]

See text

Synonyms [2]
  • PlumieriaScop.

Plumeria ( /plˈmɛriə/ ) is a genus of flowering plants in the family Apocynaceae. [1] Most species are deciduous shrubs or small trees. The species variously are endemic to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, and as far south as Brazil and north as Florida, but are grown as cosmopolitan ornamentals in warm regions. [2] [3] Common names for plants in the genus vary widely according to region, variety, and whim, but frangipani or variations on that theme are the most common. Plumeria is also used as a common name, especially in horticultural circles. [4]



Plumeria flowers are most fragrant at night in order to lure sphinx moths to pollinate them. The flowers yield no nectar, however, and simply trick their pollinators. The moths inadvertently pollinate them by transferring pollen from flower to flower in their fruitless search for nectar. [5] Insects or human pollination can help create new varieties of plumeria. Plumeria trees from cross pollinated seeds may show characteristics of the mother tree or their flowers might just have a totally new look.[ citation needed ]

Plumeria species may be propagated easily by cutting leafless stem tips in spring. Cuttings are allowed to dry at the base before planting in well-drained soil. Cuttings are particularly susceptible to rot in moist soil. One optional method to root cuttings is applying rooting hormone to the clean fresh-cut end to enable callusing. Plumeria cuttings could also be propagated by grafting a cutting to an already rooted system. [6] The Plumeria Society of America lists 368 registered cultivars of Plumeria as of 2009. [7]

Etymology and common names

The genus is named in honor of the seventeenth-century French botanist and Catholic monk Charles Plumier, who traveled to the New World documenting many plant and animal species. [8] The common name "frangipani" comes from a sixteenth-century marquis of the noble family in Italy who claimed to invent a plumeria-scented perfume, [9] but in reality made a synthetic perfume that was said at the time to resemble the odor of the recently discovered flowers. [10] Many English speakers also simply use the generic name "plumeria".[ citation needed ]

In South East Asia this tree and its flower is considered sacred. A relief in Penataran temple in East Java shows a plumeria tree with its distinct flower-petals and skeleton-like branches. [11] Another relief in Borobudur, at the west side, 1st zone also depict plumeria. [12] These reliefs, which were created before European exploration (Brobudur constructed in ~ 9th CE and Penataran in ~ 14 CE) makes a difficult question about when plumeria came to South East Asia.

In eastern India and Bangladesh,it is traditionally considered as a variety of champak flower, the golok chapa (গোলোক চাঁপা), meaning the champaka that resides the heavenly home of Sree Krishna, a hindu god residing at the highest realm of heaven. This flower is considered sacred and also adorned by the name of gulancha and kath golap (literally, wood rose)!

Plumeria relief in Penataran temple, Blitar, East Java Kamboja Panataran 2.jpg
Plumeria relief in Penataran temple, Blitar, East Java

In culture

In Mesoamerica, plumerias have carried complex symbolic significance for over two millennia, with striking examples from the Maya and Aztec periods into the present. Among the Maya, plumerias have been associated with deities representing life and fertility, and the flowers also became strongly connected with female sexuality. Nahuatl-speaking people during the height of the Aztec Empire used plumerias to signify elite status, and planted plumeria trees in the gardens of nobles. [13]

Frangipani trunk in Kolkata, West Bengal, India Frangipani without leaves W IMG 3624.jpg
Frangipani trunk in Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Leaves Leaves I IMG 8331.jpg
Flowering tree of Plumeria rubra decorating a garden in Tel Aviv, Israel. Plumeria-tree-Tel-Aviv-ZE-MK-1.jpg
Flowering tree of Plumeria rubra decorating a garden in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Hot pink frangipani in full bloom Hot pink frangipani in full bloom.jpg
Hot pink frangipani in full bloom

These are now common naturalized plants in southern and southeastern Asia. In local folk beliefs they provide shelter to ghosts and demons. They are also associated with temples in both Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist cultures.

In several Pacific islands, such as Tahiti, Fiji, Samoa, Hawaii, New Zealand, Tonga, and the Cook Islands plumeria species are used for making leis. [14] In modern Polynesian culture, the flower can be worn by women to indicate their relationship status—over the right ear if seeking a relationship, and over the left if taken. [15]

Plumeria rubra is the national flower of Nicaragua, where it is known under the local name "sacuanjoche".

Plumeria alba is the national flower of Laos, where it is known under the local name champa or "dok champa".

In Bengali culture, most white flowers, and in particular, plumeria (Bengali, চম্পা chômpa or চাঁপা chãpa), are associated with funerals and death.

Also in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, the plumeria is often associated with ghosts and cemeteries. [16] Plumerias often are planted on burial grounds in all three nations. They are also common ornamental plants in houses, parks, parking lots and other open-air establishments in the Philippines. Balinese Hindus use the flowers in their temple offerings. The plumeria's fragrance is also associated with the kuntilanak, an evil vampiric spirit of a dead mother in Malaysian-Indonesian folklores.

Indian incenses fragranced with Plumeria rubra have "champa" in their names. For example, Nag Champa is an incense containing a fragrance combining plumeria and sandalwood. While plumeria is an ingredient in Indian champa incense, the extent of its use varies between family recipes. Most champa incenses also incorporate other tree resins, such as Halmaddi ( Ailanthus triphysa ) and benzoin resin, as well as other floral ingredients, including champaca ( Magnolia champaca ), geranium ( Pelargonium graveolens ), and vanilla ( Vanilla planifolia ) to produce a more intense, plumeria-like aroma. [17]

In the Western Ghats of Karnataka, the bride and groom exchange garlands of cream-coloured plumeria during weddings. Red colored flowers are not used in weddings. Plumeria plants are found in most of the temples in these regions.

In Sri Lankan tradition, plumeria is associated with worship. One of the heavenly damsels in the frescoes of the fifth-century rock fortress Sigiriya holds a 5-petalled flower in her right hand that is indistinguishable from plumeria. [18]

In Eastern Africa, frangipani are sometimes referred to in Swahili love poems. [19]

Some species of plumeria have been studied for their potential medicinal value. [20]

There are a few more new hybrids now (Nui Delight, Nui's Diamond Rose, Nui's Dragon Heart, Nui's Light of Hope), named after Nui Leera from Thailand, who has planted over 100,000 plumeria seeds (2018).


The genus Plumeria includes about a dozen accepted species, and one or two dozen open to review, with over a hundred regarded as synonyms. [21]

Plumeria species have a milky latex that, like many other Apocynaceae contains poisonous compounds that irritate the eyes and skin. [22] The various species differ in their leaf shape and arrangement. The leaves of Plumeria alba are narrow and corrugated, whereas leaves of Plumeria pudica have an elongated shape and glossy, dark-green color. Plumeria pudica is one of the everblooming types with non-deciduous, evergreen leaves. Another species that retains leaves and flowers in winter is Plumeria obtusa; though its common name is "Singapore," it is originally from Colombia.[ citation needed ]


Plants of the World Online [23] lists the following:


Formerly included in genus [2]

Related Research Articles

<i>Phyllanthus</i> genus of plants

Phyllanthus is the largest genus in the flowering plant family Phyllanthaceae. Estimates of the number of species in this genus vary widely, from 750 to 1200. Phyllanthus has a remarkable diversity of growth forms including annual and perennial herbs, shrubs, climbers, floating aquatics, and pachycaulous succulents. Some have flattened leaflike stems called cladodes. It has a wide variety of floral morphologies and chromosome numbers and has one of the widest range of pollen types of any seed plant genus.

<i>Rauvolfia</i> genus of plants

Rauvolfia is a genus of evergreen trees and shrubs, commonly known as devil peppers, in the family Apocynaceae. The genus is named to honor Leonhard Rauwolf. The genus can mainly be found in tropical regions of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and various oceanic islands.

<i>Calyptranthes</i> genus of plants

Calyptranthes is a genus of flowering plants in the family Myrtaceae. They are known commonly as lidflowers, spicewoods, and mountainbays. There are about 100 species.

<i>Senna</i> (plant) genus of plants

Senna, the sennas, is a large genus of flowering plants in the legume family. This diverse genus is native throughout the tropics, with a small number of species in temperate regions. The number of species is estimated to be from about 260 to 350. The type species for the genus is Senna alexandrina. About 50 species of Senna are known in cultivation.

<i>Himatanthus</i> genus of plants

Himatanthus is a genus of flowering plant in the family Apocynaceae, first described as a genus in 1819. It is native to Panama and South America.

  1. Himatanthus articulatus(Vahl) Woodson - widespread from Panama east to French Guiana and south to Bolivia
  2. Himatanthus attenuatus(Benth.) Woodson - Venezuela, Colombia, N Brazil
  3. Himatanthus bracteatus(A.DC.) Woodson - Venezuela, Colombia, Guianas, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador
  4. Himatanthus drasticus(Mart.) Plumel - Guianas, Brazil
  5. Himatanthus lancifolius(Müll.Arg.) Woodson
  6. Himatanthus obovatus(Müll.Arg.) Woodson - Brazil, Bolivia, Guyana
  7. Himatanthus phagedaenicus(Mart.) Woodson - S Venezuela, NW Brazil
  8. Himatanthus semilunatusMarkgr. - Amazon Basin
  9. Himatanthus stenophyllusPlumel - Colombia, NW Brazil, Guyana, Suriname
  10. Himatanthus tarapotensis(K.Schum. ex Markgr.) Plumel - Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador

Forsteronia is a genus of plants in the family Apocynaceae, first described as a genus in 1818. It is native to South America, Central America, Mexico, and the West Indies.

Rauvolfioideae subfamily of plants

Rauvolfioideae is a subfamily of the flowering plant family Apocynaceae. Many species are woody lianas, others are shrubs or perennial herbs.

<i>Coussarea</i> genus of plants

Coussarea is a genus of flowering plants in the family Rubiaceae. The genus is found from southern Mexico to tropical America.

Mesechites is a genus of plants in the family Apocynaceae first described as a genus in 1860. It is native to Mexico, Central America, South America, and the West Indies.

  1. Mesechites acuminatus Müll.Arg. - Peru
  2. Mesechites angustifolius(Poir.) Miers - Hispaniola
  3. Mesechites citrifolius(Kunth) Woodson - Colombia
  4. Mesechites mansoanus(A.DC.) Woodson - Paraguay, Brazil
  5. Mesechites minimus(Britton & P.Wilson) Woodson - Cuba
  6. Mesechites repens(Jacq.) Miers - Hispaniola, Navassa Island, Jamaica
  7. Mesechites roseus(A.DC.) Miers - Cuba
  8. Mesechites trifidus(Jacq.) Müll.Arg. - widespread from Tamaulipas in NE Mexico south to Paraguay + N Argentina
  1. Mesechites andrieuxii(Müll.Arg.) Miers = Mandevilla convolvulacea(A.DC.) Hemsl.
  2. Mesechites angustatusMiers = Mandevilla benthamii(A.DC.) K.Schum.
  3. Mesechites brownei(A.DC.) Miers = Mandevilla torosa(Jacq.) Woodson
  4. Mesechites dichotomus(Kunth) Miers = Laubertia boissieriA.DC.
  5. Mesechites guayaquilensisMiers = Mandevilla subsagittata(Ruiz & Pav.) Woodson
  6. Mesechites guianensis(A.DC.) Miers = Mandevilla rugellosa(Rich.) L.Allorge
  7. Mesechites hastatusMiers = Mandevilla subsagittata(Ruiz & Pav.) Woodson
  8. Mesechites hirtellulusMiers = Mandevilla oaxacana(A.DC.) Hemsl.
  9. Mesechites hirtellus(Kunth) Miers = Mandevilla subsagittata(Ruiz & Pav.) Woodson
  10. Mesechites jasminiflorus(M.Martens & Galeotti) Miers = Mandevilla subsagittata(Ruiz & Pav.) Woodson
  11. Mesechites lanceolatus(R.Br.) Miers = Parsonsia lanceolataR.Br.
  12. Mesechites oaxacanus(A.DC.) Miers = Mandevilla oaxacana(A.DC.) Hemsl.
  13. Mesechites ovalis(Ruiz & Pav. ex Markgr.) Pichon = Allomarkgrafia ovalis(Ruiz & Pav. ex Markgr.) Woodson
  14. Mesechites plumeriiflorus(Woodson) Pichon = Allomarkgrafia plumeriifloraWoodson
  15. Mesechites siphiliticus(L.f.) Lemée = Tabernaemontana siphilitica(L.f.) Leeuwenb.
  16. Mesechites subcarnosus(Benth.) Miers = Mandevilla subcarnosa(Benth.) Woodson
  17. Mesechites sulphureus(Vell.) Müll.Arg. = Prestonia coalita(Vell.) Woodson
  18. Mesechites torulosus(L.) Miers =Mandevilla torosa(Jacq.) Woodson
<i>Rhabdadenia</i> genus of plants

Rhabdadenia is a genus of plant in the family Apocynaceae first described as a genus in 1860. It is native to South America, Central America, southern Mexico, the West Indies, and Florida.

  1. Rhabdadenia barbata(Desv. ex Ham.) Miers = Pentalinon luteum(L.) B.F.Hansen & Wunderlin
  2. Rhabdadenia berteroi(A.DC.) Müll.Arg. = Angadenia berteroi(A.DC.) Miers
  3. Rhabdadenia campestris(Vell.) Miers = Mandevilla hirsuta(Rich.) K.Schum.
  4. Rhabdadenia corallicolaSmall = Angadenia berteroi(A.DC.) Miers
  5. Rhabdadenia cubensisMüll.Arg. = Angadenia berteroi(A.DC.) Miers
  6. Rhabdadenia laxifloraMiers = Pentalinon luteum(L.) B.F.Hansen & Wunderlin
  7. Rhabdadenia lindenianaMüll.Arg. = Angadenia lindeniana(Müll.Arg.) Miers
  8. Rhabdadenia lucidaMiers = Odontadenia nitida(Vahl) Müll.Arg.
  9. Rhabdadenia polyneuraUrb = Odontadenia polyneura(Urb.) Woodson
  10. Rhabdadenia sagrae(A.DC.) Müll.Arg. ex Griseb. = Angadenia berteroi(A.DC.) Miers
  11. Rhabdadenia wrightianaMüll.Arg. = Neobracea valenzuelana(A.Rich.) Urb.

Secondatia is a genus of plants in the family Apocynaceae first described as a genus in 1844. It is native to Jamaica and South America.

<i>Jacquemontia</i> genus of plants

Jacquemontia is a genus of plants in the morning glory family Convolvulaceae. Species in this genus are commonly known as clustervine.


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