Bougainvillea is a genus of about 15 species of shrubs, vines and small trees in the family Nyctaginaceae, native to South America. What we can see as a colorful papery “flowers” are actually modified leaves called bracts. The actual white and tiny flowers are surrounded by these large and brightly colored bracts. Bougainvilleas are popular garden plants due to their versatility and how they add great contrast to any floral arrangement.
Philibert Commerson (1727-1773), a French naturalist and botanist, discovered the Bougainvillea and classified it in honor of his friend and shipmate Louis Antoine de Bougainville (1729-1811), who was the French Navy admiral.
Bougainvillea symbolizes passion, liveliness and life experience.
Interesting facts about Bougainvillea
Bougainvillea in Grenada
Bougainvillea is the national flower of Grenada and can be found upon the coat of arms. It is so popular that many streets, hotels and institutions bear its name.
Bougainvillea in Guam
Bougainvillea is the state flower of the United States territory of Guam, where it is known as the “Puti Tai Nobiu”, which means “It hurts to have no boyfriend”.
Bougainvillea Plant Data
Climbers, Shrubs, Trees
Bougainvillea bracts come in shades of red, purple, yellow, pink, orange and white. The small flowers are generally white.
Spring, Autumn, Winter, Summer
These plants can grow from 60 cm to 12 metres (2 to 40 ft) tall, depending on the species.
Bougainvillea prefers moist, well-drained and slightly acidic soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5.