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Plumeria sp.


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
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderGentianalesGentians, coffee, gardenias, frangipani, many others
FamilyApocynaceaeDogbane family
GenusPlumeriaFor 17th century botanist Charles Plumier

About plant names...

Frangipani, also called plumeria (genus), consist of about eight species and 300 cultivars, and are native to Mexico, Central America, and the Carribean. These popular tropicals are grown in subtropical climates in the US, and they are tough and resliient. They are deciduous, appearing as a rather unattractive collection of sticks when they drop their leaves in winter. The common name “frangipani” derives from a 16th century nobleman, Marquis Frangipani. He created a perfume that became highly popular, used to scent gloves. When the flowers arrived later, their scent was similar to that of his perfume, and his name became associated with the plumeria. The flowers are popular for making Hawaiian leis, and there are many myths and traditions surrounding these plants.

Identification: Plumeria trees reach up to 16-20′ (5-6 m) in height. Branches are gnarled and swollen, with gray-green scaly bark. If the bark is cut, a poisonous sticky, milky latex is exuded. Rather uncommonly, leaves cluster at the branch tips. They are dark green above, lighter beneath, and 2-4″ (5-10 cm) ✕ 8-12″ (20-30 cm). Flowers also cluster at branch tips, and are pleasantly scented. Native species are commonly white with yellow centers, or red; though many cultivars exist, with pink, yellow, red, or multicolored variants. The flowers form an attractive “pinwheel” of 5 petals 2-3″ (5-7.6 cm) around. Their fragrance, strongest at night, lures spinx months, but the plumeria dupes the moths and doesn’t actually provide any nectar.

Medical: Poisonous Skull & Crossbones. The milky sap is a skin and eye irritant. No part of the plant is edible.

Online References:





The University of Hawai‘i’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at Mānoa





Plumeria sp. description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Plumeria sp. (frangipani)

6/7/2017 · Pearl Harbor, Hawaii · By Lisa Naumann

Plumeria sp. (frangipani)

4/6/2011 · Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens, Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, Mary­land ID is uncertain

Plumeria sp. (frangipani)

4/6/2011 · Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens, Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, Mary­land ID is uncertain

Range: Zones 9B-10:

About this map...