Plumeria (Frangipani; Hawaiian Lei Flower)

Plumeria, also known as Frangipani, is a genus of about 300 species of flowering tropical plants, native to Central America, Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean. Plumeria species belong to the Apocynaceae family, commonly called the dogbane family. They are popular ornamental plants that can be grown as shrubs or small trees.
Plumeria is a fast growing plant that produces masses of blossoms that bloom from spring until early fall. It is popular for its fragrant, large flowers and beautiful assortment of colors. Once planted, you will definitely love to watch your Plumeria plant grow!

Name meaning

The genus name was given in honor of Charles Plumier (1646-1704), a French botanist.

The common name “Frangipani” comes from the Italian nobleman, Marquis Frangipani, who created a perfume used to scent gloves in the 16th century. When the Plumeria flower was discovered, the scent was similar to the scent used in the gloves. The name began to be associated with the plant and Plumeria flowers soon became known as Frangipani flowers.
Another theory is that the name was derived from the French word “frangipanier”, which means “coagulated milk”, because of the appearance of Plumeria milk.

Plumeria symbolism

Plumeria flowers have a rich and deep symbolism in many cultures.
They primarily symbolize beauty, charm and grace, but can also symbolize new beginnings, birth, creation, immortality, shelter and protection.

The ancient Indians believed that Frangipani represents the infinite life of our soul.

The flower is recommended as a gift for someone who has endured many challenges.

Interesting facts about Plumeria

Plumeria in Hawaii

Plumeria flowers are commercially grown in Hawaii for lei production and used in making traditional Hawaiian leis.
They are great for making leis because of their large size, lovely colors and strong scent. They are usually strung together in a single-strand lei to create the magnificent Plumeria leis. These flowers are the perfect accessories for a decorative welcome home lei or simply worn behind your ear.
In Hawaii, the Plumeria flower symbolizes the relationship status of the wearer. When a Plumeria flower is worn in the hair over the right ear, it suggests that the lady is still single. If it’s worn on the left side, it means that she is taken.

Plumeria in the Far East

Plumeria is the national flower of Laos and has major cultural significance in this country.

In Indonesia and Philippines, Plumeria is planted in cemeteries for beautification and everlasting life.

Plumeria in Nicaragua

Plumeria rubra is the national flower of Nicaragua, where it is known as “Sacuanjoche”. The name comes from the Náhuatl language, an Uto-Aztecan language spoken by about 1,5 million people in Mexico. Sacuanjoche means “beautiful yellow flowers”, from “xacuan”(sacuan), meaning “beautiful yellow feathers or petals” and “xochilt” (joche), meaning “flower”.  It was adopted as Nicaragua’s national flower in 1971.

Is Plumeria Poisonous?

The milky sap of the plumeria is generally poisonous and can be a skin irritant in sensitive individuals. Ingestion of the sap can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.

Benefits and Uses

Plumeria has been used as a medicine to treat several diseases.

The flowers of this plant are used to make an essential oil that can be rubbed into the skin, placed in a bath or used in aromatherapy.
The essential oil derived from the ingredients of this plant has various benefits. It lowers stress and tension, helps with a bad mood, ensures soft and beautiful skin and improves your overall health. It is mainly used in aromatherapy due to the healing qualities for the mind and body.

Plumeria is often used to make perfumes as well. It has been used in perfumery since the 16th century.

The plant is sometimes used as a source of wood. It is used for the manufacturing furniture and musical instruments.

Frangipani flowers are also considered sacred in certain tropical countries, where they are used in spiritual rituals and religious ceremonies.

Plumeria Plant Data