Scientific Name: Plumeria rubra
Synonyms: Plumeria acutifolia, P. tricolor
Common Names: Frangipani, Templetree, Mexican Plumeria, Red Plumeria, Pagoda Tree
Duration: Perennial, Deciduous
Growth Habit: Tree, Shrub
Hawaii Native Status: Cultivated. This ornamental garden plant and lei flower is native to Mexico, Central America, Colombia, and Venezuela.
Flower Color: Red, Pink, Orange, Yellow, White
Height: Up to 25 feet (8 m) tall
Description: The flowers are clustered at the branch tips. The individual flowers are tubular, 2 inches (5 cm) across, and have 5 broadly to narrowly oval lobes with yellow at their base. The flower stalks, flower buds, and the outside of the petals are reddish or tinged with red. The flowers emerge before the leaves in the springtime. The flowers are sometimes followed by dry, brown, cylindrical, 5 inch (12 cm) long seed follicles containing winged seeds. The leaves are matte green, leathery, and narrowly elliptic in shape with a distinctive pointed tip. The leaves are spirally arranged and clustered at the tips of the thick, fleshy, knobbly, brown branches. The plants have an open, branching form.
Here in Hawaii, Frangipani is a popular garden plant in tropical lowland areas. The plants are typically propagated by stem cuttings.
The similar Singapore Plumeria (Plumeria obtusa) is evergreen and has shiny, round-tipped leaves, while White Frangipani (Plumeria alba) does not have red-tinged flowers, buds, or flower stalks.
Fragrant – The flowers are very fragrant and are often made into leis or worn in the hair.
Poisonous – The white, milky sap is toxic and can irritate the skin.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Apocynaceae – Dogbane family
Genus: Plumeria L. – plumeria
Species: Plumeria rubra L. – templetree