Frangipani

Plumeria obtusa (Apocynaceae)

Characteristics

Small tree, up to 5 m tall. Leaves dark green, glossy, up to 20 cm long, teardrop-shaped. Flowers white with yellow throats and each has five petals, fragrant, bloom in clusters. Flowers are most fragrant at night to attract moths and produce no nectar, tricking the pollinators who inadvertently pollinate them by travelling in search of the nectar (sexually-deceptive pollination).

Distribution

Native to the Greater Antilles, Florida, Northern Central America. Cultivation Is common in the warmer regions of the world, Including the Pacific and South East Asia.It is reportedly naturalized in China

Natural Medicine Properties

The root bark is depurative and purgative, causing thirst. It is used in the treatment of blennorrhagia, herpes and syphilis.
The root bark is used externally as a lotion on syphilitic ulcers, administered as powder macerated in sugar-water, wine or beer.
The latex from the stem is caustic. It is used for treating ulcers, darter (skin diseases) and scabies.
The flowers are bitter and caustic. They are an ingredient in a complex pectoral syrup for treating chest coughs and grippe.
The seeds are used in the treatment of dysentery (bloody flux)

Did you know?

The Plumeria is highly revered in many cultures and religions as being sacred including the Mayan and Aztec civilizations, Hinduism and Buddhism in all parts of tropical Asia. It is also culturally significant in the Pacific Islands.

Further reading:

Literature

World Flora Online
WorldChecklist of Selected Plant Families
A working list of all plant species