Frangipani - The Pink Color Flowers of Plumeria rubra with the Yellow Throat
The Pink Color Flowers of Plumeria rubra with the Yellow Throat

Frangipani (Plumeria rubra) - Description & Use

Frangipani is a small tropical tree with extremely fragrant flowers and long period of blooming.

Its use as an ornamental plant in the tropical and subtropical regions of the planet is extremely widespread, but its use as a medicinal plant is also widespread.

And if the pharmacological properties and the traditional therapeutic use of the plant will be extensively mentioned in a future tribute (?), the following article emphasizes the emergence of the ornamental elements of the plant.

Therefore… Viva Mexico !!!! (… ???)

Frangipani can be planted in garden soil or in large pots with the same success as for highlighting its ornamental aspects.

Frangipani Multi-trunked Tree in Lawn - © Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, Bugwood.org
Frangipani Multi-trunked Tree in Lawn - © Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, Bugwood.org
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Frangipani Origin

Plumeria rubra (Ινδικό Φούλι) - Χάρτης Καταγωγής
Plumeria rubra (Frangipani) - Map of Origin

Frangipani (Plumeria rubra) – Description & Use

Open Flowers and Flower Buds of Plumeria rubra - © Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, Bugwood.org
Open Flowers and Flower Buds of Plumeria rubra - © Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, Bugwood.org

Frangipani (Plumeria rubra) - Brief Description

Family: Apocynaceae

GenusPlumeria

Scientific Name: Plumeria rubra L.

Common Names: Frangipani, Red Frangipani, Common Frangipani, Jasmine Mango, Pagoda Tree, Red Nosegay Tree, Temple Flower, Temple Tree, West Indian Jasmine

General Characteristics

Leaf Persistence

Deciduous

Form

Small Tree of Vase Canopy Shape

Texture

Coarse

Growth Rate

Slow

Flowering Period (Northern Hemisphere)

June – November

Fruiting Period

Summer – Winter

Height

8-15 m (26-50 ft)

Diameter

8-10 m (26-32 ft)

Shapes and Colors

Leaves Shape

Elliptic – Obovate

Foliage Colour

Green

Autumn Foliage Colour

Yellow

Flowers Shape

Funnel

Flowers Colour

Red, Pink, White, Yellow

Fruit

Pod, Brown

Plantation

Soil Type: Drained, sand, loam, clay, acidic to slight acidic

Exposure: Sun

Soil pH: 6-6.7

Watering: Low

Hardiness: −4 °C (25 °F – USDA Hardiness zone 9b)

Uses

Specimen, urban planting, seaside planting, roadside tree, containers

Frangipani (Plumeria rubra) – Description & Use

Frangipani - Flowers and Leaves
Frangipani - Flowers and Leaves

Frangipani (Plumeria rubra) - Etymology

Etymology of the Genus Name

The genus name Plumeria was given by Charles Linnaeus in honor of the 17th century French Roman Catholic monk and botanist Charles Plumier (1646-1704).

Charles Plumier made three botanizing expeditions to the New World that yielded significant plant material, which he described in the work of Nova Plantarum Americanarum Genera of 1703-04.

Among other things, he was the first scientist to discover and describe plants of the genus Fuchsia, the plant namely Fuchsia triphylla.

Etymology of the Species Name

On the other hand, the name of the species rubra is the Latin word for red – and apparently was not given for the blood spilled after the discovery of the West Indies, but is due to the red color of the plant’s flowers.

The common name Frangipani is the English version of French Frangipanier, from the Italian surname Frangipani, which replaced the old common name of the tree in English, which was nosegay – meaning, if we attribute it correctly, neither little or no joy of the nose, obviously due to the intense aroma of the plant blossoms.

For the story, the Frangipani were Italian-born aristocrats, one of which in the 16th century, created a famous scent, having as its main ingredient the flowers of Plumeria.

Frangipani (Plumeria rubra) – Description & Use

Frangipani (Plumeria rubra) - Origin & Life Span

Origin

The Frangipani plant, neither Italian nor aristocrat is. It is a tree that originates from Central America & Mexico, and is native to the Caribbean as well as the tropical regions of South America.

From there, it ranged to many tropical and subtropical zones thanks to its rich, attractive and long-lasting aromatic flowering.

Life Span

Frangipani has a lifespan that varies between 40 and 50 years.

Frangipani (Plumeria rubra) – Description & Use

Frangipani (Plumeria rubra) - Landscape Attributes

The Frangipani develops one or more trunks from the colar, which result in moderate density convex and uplifted branches. In the tip of branches, are growing the  

The Frangipani is a relatively small deciduous tree, which develops one or more trunks from the colar, and they result in moderately dense curved and upright branches, where only at the tip of them do their large leaves emerge in clusters.

It has an umbrella-hemispherical shape or an inverted cone, with symmetrical canopy, not very dense, it is of relatively normal outline, and is characterized as a coarse texture folliage.

It is slow growth rate and reaches its final dimensions, depending on the conditions, in a period of 10 to 20 years.

Frangipani (Plumeria rubra) – Description & Use

Frangipani - The Manyseeded Follicle Fruit
Frangipani - The Manyseeded Follicle Fruit

Frangipani (Plumeria rubra) - Botanical Description

Trunk

The trunk is surrounded by a thin gray-green bark, which, if cutted, appears a milky sap similar to that of Oleander (Nerium oleander).

The bark shows in places scales, which are nothing but scars of fallen leaves.

Branches & Twigs

The branches are upright and can easily trained to a single trunk. The twigss are notably thick, rounded and fleshy. Initially they have a green color, which as they turn wood takes brown hues.

Leaves

Its leaves are alternately in the upper terminal part of the branches. They are green in color, elliptic or obovate, smooth and large, with a length of 10 to 50 cm (3.9-19.6 in) and a width of between 20 and 30 cm (7.8-11.8 in).

The midrib of the leaves is thick and distinct, while the horizontal leaf veins reach up to the periphery where they joined up (anastomosis).

Flowers

The Frangipani flowers are hermaphrodite and extremely fragrant. They are broughted on terminal cymes, are of radial symmetry, have a funnel shape, consist of 5 wide petals and their diameter is between 5 and 7.5 cm (1.9-3 in).

Flowering is long, and can last from 90 to 150 days starting in early summer to be completed around mid-autumn.

Pollination

The pollination of the plant takes place by insects in the evening, where they are attracted by the intense aroma of the flowers, but in return they do not get anything but an interesting walk, because the Franzipani flowers do not produce nectar.

Fruit & Seeds

The Plumeria rubra forms a manyseeded fruit, which is a long brown follicle of 15 to 30 cm (5.9-11.8 in) in length.

The seeds are oblong-lanceolate, winged, thin, with one surface flat and the other convex.

However, the total seed production is remarkably small, although the plant is hermaphroditic and self-fertilizing, and this is explained – as we mentioned above – by the reluctance of pollinators to visit again a highly aromatic flower that is completely devoid of food – that is, nectar.

Frangipani (Plumeria rubra) – Description & Use

Frangipani (Plumeria rubra) - Climate and Soil

Temperature

The Plumeria rubra, within its natural limits of range, is a plant adaptable and durable.

In relation to temperatures, the minimum is between 0 and -1 °C (32-30.2 °F), but fully establised south-facing plants can tolerant up to -4 °C (24.8 °F).

In any case, however, all Frangipani cultivar plants are extremely sensitive to frost.

Soil and pH

In relation to the soil, the Frangipani grows in varius types, but thrives in light sandy soils that drain well. From the point of view of nutrients, it seems to respond better to those of medium fertility, while in terms of pH it prefers the slightly acidic soil.

Exposure

In relation to the soil, the Frangipani grows in varius types, but thrives in light sandy soils that drain well. From the point of view of nutrients, it seems to respond better to those of medium fertility, while in terms of pH it prefers the slightly acidic soil.

Frangipani (Plumeria rubra) – Description & Use

Group Planting Plumeria rubra Trees in the Lawn
Group Planting Plumeria rubra Trees in the Lawn

Frangipani (Plumeria rubra) - Pests & Diseases

From pests and diseases generally Frangipani has no problems. Sometimes, however, it is infect by rust and mildew, while aphids, various leaf-lobe caterpillars, thrips, various kinds of whiteflies and scales can attact to plant.

Pests

Immediately below are recorded the most important pests of Frangipani.

Various Insects
  • Pseudosphinx tetrio (Frangipani Sphinx Moth)
Scales
  • Chrysomphalus aonidum (Florida Red Scale)
  • Pinnaspis strachani (Lesser Snow Scale)
Mealybags
  • Planococcus citri (Citrus Mealybug)
  • Paracoccus marginatus (Papaya Mealybug)
Acari
  • Tetranychus urticae (Glasshouse Red Spider Mite)

By using the appropriate insecticides and acaricides, their treatment is from satisfactory to difficult.

Diseases

After the pests, the recording of the diseases follows.

Fungi
  • Coleosporium plumeria (Plumeria Rust)
  • Macrophoma sp.

By using the appropriate fungicides the treatment is from satisfactory to difficult.

Frangipani (Plumeria rubra) – Description & Use

Frangipani (Plumeria rubra) - Toxicity & Allergenicity

Toxicity

Most species of the Apocynaceae family contain alkaloids. The same goes for Frangipani whose all plant parts are toxic.

It is typically reported that skin contact with the thick milky sap, results in skin irritation, and in sensitive persons it causes rashes and blisters, while ingestion causes poisoning manifested by vomiting and diarrhea.

Allergenicity

The Frangipani, as an entomophilous plant, does not cause allergic reactions.

Frangipani (Plumeria rubra) – Description & Use

Frangipani (Plumeria rubra) - Varieties & Cultivars

Botanically Frangipani is classified into the following four forms:

  • Plumeria rubra forma acutifolia
  • Plumeria rubra forma lutea
  • Plumeria rubra forma rubra
  • Plumeria rubra forma tricolor

The Plumeria rubra forma acutifolia has white petals with yellow in the center and at the base.

The Plumeria rubra forma lutea has the upper part of the petals white which gradually turns yellow towards the base.

The Plumeria rubra forma rubra has pink or red petals with a little yellow in the center and at the base.

The Plumeria rubra forma tricolor has white and pink petals with yellow in the center and at the base..

From these have emerged several interesting varieties of the plant.

The Varieties of the Plumeria rubra

Some of the most notable are listed below.

  • Plumeria rubra ‘Angel Touch’
  • Plumeria rubra ‘California Sunset’
  • Plumeria rubra ‘Jeannie Moragne’
  • Plumeria rubra ‘Kaneohe Sunburst’
  • Plumeria rubra ‘Penang Peach’
  • Plumeria rubra ‘Pink Rainbow’
  • Plumeria rubra ‘Synchronicity’
  • Plumeria rubra ‘Thumbelina’

Frangipani (Plumeria rubra) – Description & Use

The Red Color Flowers of Plumeria rubra
The Red Color Flowers of Plumeria rubra

Frangipani (Plumeria rubra) - Uses

Pharmaceutical & Ethnobotany

Frangipani is not only ornamental but has both pharmaceutical and ethnobotany value. In fact, there are so many traditional uses and pharmacological properties of the plant, making it almost obligatory for ‘Kalliergeia’ editorial team to have a future special tribute to this subject. In brief, we will mention that extracts from different parts of the plant have antipyretic, anti-inflammatory and anthelmintic action.

Use in Garden and Landscape

The Frangipani is extremely tolerant to drought, high temperatures and aerosol salt.

If to these properties are added its long and very attractive aromatic flowering, as well as the fact that it is not a plant of high maintenance requirements, then we have an almost ideal ornamental for the city garden and the countryside.

Thus it could be generally said that Plumeria rubra is utilized:

  • As a pot and container plant
  • In xeriscape plantings
  • As a rock garden plant
  • In urban and country gardens of moderate maintenance
  • In planting of coastal areas
  • Combined with other ornamental plants, such as Pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa ‘Vibrance’), Pink Rock-Rose (Cistus creticus), Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus), and Tree Germander (Teucrium fruticans)

References

The References to the article with the remarkably original title Indian Frangipani (Plumeria rubra) – Description & Use, are presented by the Mexican traditional music band Los Folkloristas with the song Tierra Mestiza – something like the Land of Mestizos.

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