I saw this on my way back to Malaysia last weekend. It stroke me that I only know the Chinese name of this plant … do you know what the name is?
It is called 九重葛 in Chinese (“Nine-folds flower”, perhaps it’s referring to the multiple petals of the flower). My google-fu showed me that the genus is Bougainvillea, named after its discoverer Louis Antoine de Bougainville during his voyage of circumnavigation of the Earth.
What piqued my interest was the lone white colour plant among all the reds – does it tell anything? At first my educated guess was due to a mutation (which turned out to be not educated at all). If it were true, I might even become the modern Mendel and calculate the probability of getting white colour based on the picture!
Nay – the colours in fact belong to different species. There are dozens of them. According to Singapore’s infopedia, the four common species in Singapore are Bougainvillea glabra, Bougainvillea spectabilis, Bougainvillea mrs butt and Bougainvillea peruviana. In this picture, I guess these are two hybrid species – Bougainvillea x buttiana (white) and Bougainvillea spectoglabra (red).
It is not known as an useful plant – there are no known medical or chemical properties. Bougainvillea is mostly known for its bright colours and great appearance. Sometimes the look just counts, doesn’t it?