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Bougainvillea spectabilis

Bougainvillea spectabilis Willd.

 

Bougainvillea, Great Bougainvillea

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassCaryophyllidaeCacti, many other succulents, carnivorous plants, and leadworts
OrderCaryophyllalesIncludes cacti, carnations, amaranths, ice plants, and many carnivorous plants
FamilyNyctaginaceaePlants with unique fruits (“anthocarps”) and large pollen grains
GenusBougainvilleaNamed in honor of the noted mathematician, scientist, lawyer, soldier, author and Fellow of the Royal Society of London, Louis Antoine de Bougainville (1729-1811), who from 1767 to 1769 sailed around the world
SpeciesspectabilisSpectacular

About plant names...

Although both plant and genus are named in honor of the noted mathematician, scientist, lawyer, soldier, author and Royal Society Fellow, Louis Antoine de Bougainville (1729-1811), he “took notice” of the species, rather than dis­covering it. Carl Ludwig Willdenow did the discovering, in Brazil, in 1798.

Bougainvilleas, natives of South America, are prized for their beautiful flowers, which, technically at least, are not flowers at all. They are bracts—brightly colored leaves that surround small, inconspicuous white flowers. Breeders have created a cornucopia of these arresting plants (see, for example, this collection at Plants of Hawaii).

Bougainvillea spectabilis (Bougainvillea, Great Bougainvillea)

Detail showing bracts and tiny flowers, by Forest & Kim Starr

Plants: Evergreen woody climbing plants are usually around 6' (1.8 m) but can be over 30' (9.1 m) high. They have smooth and thorny stems. Thorns are greater than ½" (1.3 cm) long, and sometimes bent. They form freestanding bushes or climb like vines over walls and fences.

Leaves: 1-4" (2.5-10 cm) long, ovate, hairy, and alternate, with rippled edges.

Flowers: Bougainvilleas are kind of weird. Their flowers are cream-colored, about ⅜" (1 cm) in diameter, with pleated edges. But the bracts (modified leaves) surrounding the flowers come in a range of natural colors: red, dark pink, or purple. Cultivars come in other colors too: many reds, lavendar, magenta, peach, yellow, and white. Blooms are seasonal, appearing after the dry season or after a cool spell. If you look closely at the colorful “petals,” they are clearly leaves.

Medical: Many health-related benefits are attributed to bougainvilleas, but I cannot find any hard information on the topic.

These are closely similar:

 

Bougainvillea spectabilis (Bougainvillea, Great Bougainvillea)

7/7/2007 · Guam · By Jacquelyn Boyt

Bougainvillea spectabilis (Bougainvillea, Great Bougainvillea)

5/24/2009 · Kaylors, Peoria, AZ
≈ 11 × 7" (28 × 18 cm)

Bougainvillea spectabilis (Bougainvillea, Great Bougainvillea)

2/24/2010 · Bob & Celeste’s, Carlsbad, CA
≈ 2½ × 1¾" (6.9 × 4.6 cm)

Bougainvillea spectabilis (Bougainvillea, Great Bougainvillea)

2/24/2010 · Bob & Celeste’s, Carlsbad, CA
≈ 13 × 10" (33 × 25 cm)

Bougainvillea spectabilis (Bougainvillea, Great Bougainvillea)

8/15/2003 · South Caicos, Turks and Caicos Islands · By Heather A. Kent

 
Bougainvillea glabra
You are here
Bougainvillea spectabilis
Common Name

Paperflower

Bougainvillea
Plant Evergreen woody climbing plants are 10-15' (3-4.6 m), They form freestanding bushes or climb like vines over walls and fences. Evergreen woody climbing plants are usually around 6' (1.8 m) but can be over 30' (9.1 m) high. They form freestanding bushes or climb like vines over walls and fences.
Flowers Cream-colored, about ⅜" (1 cm) in diameter, with pleated edges. Bracts (modified leaves) surrounding the flowers come in a range of (often cultivated) colors: many reds, lavendar, magenta, peach, yellow, and white. Bracts tend to be more triangular in shape. Flowers appear several times per year, from winter to early spring. Cream-colored, about ⅜" (1 cm) in diameter, with pleated edges. Bracts (modified leaves) surrounding the flowers come in a range of natural colors: red, dark pink, or purple. Cultivars come in other colors too: many reds, lavendar, magenta, peach, yellow, and white. Blooms are seasonal, appearing after the dry season or after a cool spell.
Leaves 1-4" (2.5-10 cm) long, elliptical, shiny, hairless, and alternate, with smoother edges than those of B. spectabilis. Sometimes the leaves are variegated. 1-4" (2.5-10 cm) long, ovate, hairy, and alternate, with rippled edges.
Stem Hairy and thorny stems. Thorns are typically less than ½" (1.3 cm). Smooth and thorny stems. Thorns are greater than ½" (1.3 cm) long, and sometimes bent.
Range/ Zones

USDA Zones: 9-11

USDA Zones: 9a-11
Habitats Subtropical to tropical Subtropical to tropical
Type Escaped cultivar Wild

 

Online References:

Bougainvillea spectabilis on Forest and Kim Starr’s Starr Environmental site

Bougainvillea spectabilis on Wikimedia Commons

Bougainvillea spectabilis on Blue Planet Biomes

Bougainvillea spectabilis at the University of Hawai‘i’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at Mānoa (PDF)

Bougainvillea spectabilis on www.creationwiki.org

Bougainvillea spectabilis on CalPhotos

Bougainvillea spectabilis on Wikimedia Commons

Bougainvillea spectabilis on eFloras

Bougainvillea spectabilis description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 11 Jul 2019.

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Bougainvillea spectabilis (Bougainvillea, Great Bougainvillea)

2/24/2010 · Bob & Celeste’s, Carlsbad, CA
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Range: Zones 9a-11:

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