Frangipani is the flower that many of us foreigners instantly fall in love with in Thailand, or South East Asia. You most probably encountered the flowers in a spa bath in Thailand, if you have ever been to one. The Laotian even made it their own flower. It is the symbol of the national carrier Lao Aviation, and declared a national flower. In Laos it is called Dok Champa. Plumeria is the more scientific name and it derives from Charles Plumier, a French botanist (1646 – 1704). He was regarded as one of the most important botanical explorers of his time, Plumier served as a botanist to King Louis XIV of France. He did many journeys to the New World documenting plants and animal species. The name Frangipani comes from the name of a 16th century Italian nobleman who created a perfume with a similar scent used for gloves.
Often named Temple tree, this tree is appreciated all over the region, but it is originally from the West Indies. (Source Plants in the Tropics). In the region, the tree is believed to protect you from ghosts and demons.
After the introduction of the early rainy season this year our trees are now in full bloom.
The tree drops leave all year round, but mostly during the dry season. So the tree can be & like a coral looking creation with flowers in bloom but no leaves. If you cut off a branch you will have milk-white liquid pouring out of it, but the cuttings can be replanted and in no time in the tropics, it will grow to become a tree. You can grow a rainbow of Frangipanis since the choices of flower colours is so varied, and the perfume is divine.
Frangipani is not hard to grow but demands a lot of work due to the leaves. The long leather-like leaves drop all the time, so every day you have to work out to pick up large amounts of leaves.
Plumeria or Frangipani is truly an iconic symbol of South East Asia. And it does give you some nice shadow in your garden.