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Frangipani flowers.jpg
Plumeria sp.
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Rauvolfioideae
Tribe: Plumerieae
Genus: Plumeria
  • Plumieria Scop.

Plumeria (/plˈmɛriə/) is a genus of flowering plants in the dogbane family, Apocynaceae.[1] Most species are deciduous shrubs or small trees. The species variously are indigenous to Mexico, Central America, Hawaii and the Caribbean, and as far south as Brazil, 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 also is used directly 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.[citation needed]. 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.[citation needed]

There are more than 300 named varieties of Plumeria.[citation needed]

Etymology and common names[edit]

The genus is named in honor of the seventeenth-century French botanist Charles Plumier, who traveled to the New World documenting many plant and animal species.[5] The common name "frangipani" comes from a sixteenth-century marquis of the noble family in Italy who claimed to invent a plumeria-scented perfume,[6] but in reality made a synthetic perfume that was said at the time to resemble the odor of the recently discovered flowers.[7] Many English speakers also simply use the generic name "plumeria".

In Persian, the name is yas or yasmin.In Bengali the name is "Kath Champa", in Hindi, champa, in Gujarati champo, in Marathi chafa (चाफा), in Telugu deva ganneru (divine nerium), in Meitei khagi leihao. In Hawaii, the name is melia, although common usage is still 'plumeria'. In Malayalam it is called Arali (അരളി). In Sri Lanka, it is referred to as araliya (අරලිය) and (in English) as the 'Temple Tree'. In Cantonese, it is known as gaai daan fa or the 'egg yolk flower' tree. The name lilawadi (originating from Thai)[8][9] is found occasionally. In Indonesia, where the flower has been commonly associated with Balinese culture, it is known as kamboja, in Bali especially it is known as jepun. In French Polynesia it is called tipanie[10] or tipanier[11] and tīpani in the Cook Islands.[12] In the Philippines it is called kalachuchi.

In culture[edit]

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
Flowering tree of Plumeria rubra decorating a garden in Tel Aviv, Israel.

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 pontianak, 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 Kannada dialect spoken in the Old Mysore region of Karnataka of southern India, the flower is called Devaga Nagale. In the Western Ghats of Karnataka, the local people use cream-coloured plumeria in weddings. The groom and bride exchange plumeria garland at the wedding. It is alternatively called devaganagalu or devakanagalu (God's Plumeria). 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 differently 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] Accepted species[2]

  1. Plumeria alba L. - Puerto Rico, Lesser Antilles
  2. Plumeria clusioides Griseb. (now a synonym of Plumeria obtusa L.[23]) - Cuba
  3. Plumeria cubensis Urb. (now a synonym of Plumeria obtusa L.[23]) - Cuba
  4. Plumeria ekmanii Urb. (now a synonym of Plumeria obtusa L.[23]) - Cuba
  5. Plumeria emarginata Griseb. (now a synonym of Plumeria obtusa L.[23]) - Cuba
  6. Plumeria filifolia Griseb. - Cuba
  7. Plumeria inodora Jacq. - Guyana, Colombia, Venezuela (incl Venezuelan islands in Caribbean)
  8. Plumeria krugii Urb. (now a synonym of Plumeria obtusa L.[23]) - Puerto Rico
  9. Plumeria lanata Britton (a synonym of Plumeria obtusa var. sericifolia (C.Wright ex Griseb.) Woodson[24]) - Cuba
  10. Plumeria magna Zanoni & M.M.Mejía - Dominican Republic
  11. Plumeria montana Britton & P.Wilson (now a synonym of Plumeria obtusa L.[23]) - Cuba
  12. Plumeria obtusa L. - West Indies including Bahamas; southern Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Florida; naturalized in China
  13. Plumeria pudica Jacq. - Panama, Colombia, Venezuela (incl Venezuelan islands in Caribbean)
  14. Plumeria rubra L. - Mexico, Central America, Venezuela; naturalized in China, the Himalayas, West Indies, South America, and numerous oceanic islands
  15. Plumeria sericifolia C.Wright ex Griseb. (now demoted to Plumeria obtusa var. sericifolia (C.Wright ex Griseb.) Woodson[24]) - Cuba
  16. Plumeria × stenopetala Urb.
  17. Plumeria × stenophylla Urb. - Mexico and Central America
  18. Plumeria subsessilis A.DC. - Hispaniola
  19. Plumeria trinitensis Britton (now a synonym of Plumeria obtusa var. sericifolia (C.Wright ex Griseb.) Woodson[24]) - Cuba
  20. Plumeria tuberculata G.Lodd. (now a synonym of Plumeria obtusa var. sericifolia (C.Wright ex Griseb.) Woodson[24]) - Hispaniola, Bahamas
  21. Plumeria venosa Britton (now a synonym of Plumeria obtusa L.[23]) - Cuba
Formerly included in genus[2]
  1. Plumeria ambigua Müll.Arg. = Himatanthus bracteatus (A.DC.) Woodson
  2. Plumeria angustiflora Spruce ex Müll.Arg. = Himatanthus attenuatus (Benth.) Woodson
  3. Plumeria articulata Vahl = Himatanthus articulatus (Vahl) Woodson
  4. Plumeria attenuata Benth = Himatanthus attenuatus (Benth.) Woodson
  5. Plumeria bracteata A.DC. = Himatanthus bracteatus (A.DC.) Woodson
  6. Plumeria drastica Mart. = Himatanthus drasticus (Mart.) Plumel
  7. Plumeria fallax Müll.Arg. = Himatanthus drasticus (Mart.) Plumel
  8. Plumeria floribunda var floribunda = Himatanthus articulatus (Vahl) Woodson
  9. Plumeria floribunda var. acutifolia Müll.Arg. = Himatanthus bracteatus (A.DC.) Woodson
  10. Plumeria floribunda var. calycina Müll.Arg. = Himatanthus bracteatus (A.DC.) Woodson
  11. Plumeria floribunda var. crassipes Müll.Arg. = Himatanthus bracteatus (A.DC.) Woodson
  12. Plumeria hilariana Müll.Arg. = Himatanthus obovatus (Müll.Arg.) Woodson
  13. Plumeria lancifolia Müll.Arg. = Himatanthus bracteatus (A.DC.) Woodson
  14. Plumeria latifolia Pilg. = Himatanthus obovatus (Müll.Arg.) Woodson
  15. Plumeria martii Müll.Arg. = Himatanthus bracteatus (A.DC.) Woodson
  16. Plumeria microcalyx Standl. = Himatanthus articulatus (Vahl) Woodson
  17. Plumeria mulongo Benth. = Himatanthus attenuatus (Benth.) Woodson
  18. Plumeria obovata Müll.Arg. = Himatanthus obovatus (Müll.Arg.) Woodson
  19. Plumeria oligoneura Malme = Himatanthus obovatus (Müll.Arg.) Woodson
  20. Plumeria phagedaenica Benth. ex Müll.Arg. 1860 not Mart. 1831 = Himatanthus drasticus (Mart.) Plumel
  21. Plumeria phagedaenica Mart. 1831 not Benth. ex Müll.Arg. 1860= Himatanthus phagedaenicus (Mart.) Woodson
  22. Plumeria puberula Müll.Arg. = Himatanthus obovatus (Müll.Arg.) Woodson
  23. Plumeria retusa Lam. = Tabernaemontana retusa (Lam.) Pichon
  24. Plumeria revoluta Huber = Himatanthus stenophyllus Plumel
  25. Plumeria speciosa Müll.Arg. = Himatanthus bracteatus (A.DC.) Woodson
  26. Plumeria sucuuba Spruce ex Müll.Arg. = Himatanthus articulatus (Vahl) Woodson
  27. Plumeria tarapotensis K.Schum. ex Markgr. = Himatanthus tarapotensis (K.Schum. ex Markgr.) Plumel
  28. Plumeria velutina Müll.Arg. = Himatanthus obovatus (Müll.Arg.) Woodson
  29. Plumeria warmingii Müll.Arg. = Himatanthus obovatus (Müll.Arg.) Woodson



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  2. ^ a b c d "World Checklist of Selected Plant Families". Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  3. ^ Urs Eggli, ed. (2002). Illustrated Handbook on Succulent Plants. 5: Dicotyledons. Springer. p. 16. ISBN 978-3-540-41966-2.
  4. ^ M.M. Grandtner (8 April 2005). Elsevier's Dictionary of Trees: Volume 1: North America. Elsevier. pp. 679–. ISBN 978-0-08-046018-5.
  5. ^ "Zumbroich, Thomas J. 2013. 'Plumerias the Color of Roseate Spoonbills'- Continuity and Transition in the Symbolism of Plumeria L. in Mesoamerica. Ethnobotany Research & Applications 11:341-363". Retrieved 2015-04-15.
  6. ^ George William Septimus Piesse (1867). "The Art of Perfumery and the Methods of Obtaining the Odors of Plants: With Instructions for the Manufacture of Perfumes for the Handkerchief, Scented Powders, Odorous Vinegars, Dentifrices, Pomatums, Cosmetics, Perfumed Soap, Etc., to which is Added an Appendix on Preparing Artificial Fruit-essences, Etc". p. 23. Retrieved 2017-07-08.
  7. ^ Andrew Kettler. "Making the Synthetic Epic". Retrieved 2017-07-08.
  8. ^ "KohSamui-Info". Retrieved 2012-10-05.
  9. ^ "The Lantom or Leelawadee Flowering Tree of Thailand". Retrieved 2012-10-05.
  10. ^ "Frangipani - Tahitian Secrets". Retrieved 2017-05-12.
  11. ^ T. K. Lim (2013). "Edible Medicinal And Non-Medicinal Plants". Springer. p. 95. ISBN 978-94-007-7394-3.
  12. ^ "Cook Islands Biodiversity: Plumeria rubra - Frangipani". Retrieved 2017-05-12.
  13. ^ "Zumbroich, Thomas J. 2013. 'Plumerias the Color of Roseate Spoonbills'- Continuity and Transition in the Symbolism of Plumeria L. in Mesoamerica. Ethnobotany Research & Applications 11:341-363". Retrieved 2015-03-10.
  14. ^ Jones, Jay (April 22, 2008). "Hawaii keeps the lei-making tradition alive". Los Angeles Times.
  15. ^ "Symbolism of Wearing Hawaiian Flowers". Retrieved 2015-12-20.
  16. ^ Bautista, Norby (April 22, 2015). "The summer blooming of the Kalachuchi". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved December 19, 2015.
  17. ^ "Equinox Aromatics, LLC - Halmaddi - Ailanthus triphysa - India". Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  18. ^ Kottegoda, S R, Flowers of Sri Lanka, Colombo, Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka, 1994; pp xiii-xiv
  19. ^ Knappert, Jan (1972) An Anthology of Swahili Love Poetry, University of California Press, page 93. ISBN 0-520-02177-0
  20. ^ "Phytochemical Constituents, Traditional Uses, and Pharmacological Properties of the Genus Plumeria". Chemistry. 8: 1357–1369. doi:10.1002/cbdv.201000159.
  21. ^ The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed December 2016)
  22. ^ College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR). Ornamentals and Flowers. Feb. 1998. OF-24.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g The Plant List (RBG, Kew, MBG) access date: 2015-02-26
  24. ^ a b c d The Plant List (RBG, Kew, MBG) access date: 2015-02-26

External links[edit]