Today we’re talking about one of our favorite tropical flowers, bougainvillea often referred to as “paper flower” because of it’s delicate thin petals. One of it’s most striking characteristics is it’s wide variety of rich hues which can be found throughout Central and South America. It never ceases to amaze me that mother nature can create such colors.
Essentially bougainvillea are thorny, woody vines growing anywhere from 1 to 12 meters tall. They have thorns with black, waxy substances on their tips and the actual flower of the plant is small and generally white. However, each cluster of three flowers is surrounded by three or six bracts with the bright colors associated with the plant, including pink, magenta, purple, red, orange, white, or yellow. It is a bit poisonous to some animals such as dogs, so be careful if you place it in your home.
It is unfortunate that we rarely get to work with this amazing flower, because it makes me giddy every time I come across it. When I was traveling in Costa Rica this past February I was lucky enough to enjoy it every step of the way. It grows in most people’s yards for decorative purposes and always stands out from other plants and flowers.