Paper Flower (കടലാസുപൂവ്)

Scientific Name: Bougainvillea glabra Choisy

Synonyms: Bougainvillea arborea Glaz., Bougainvillea formosa W.Bull

Unique ID: 148

Systematic Position

Class: Dicotyledonae

Sub Class: Monochlamydeae                        

Series: Curvembryeae

Family: Nyctaginaceae

Common Names

English – Paperflower

Malayalam – കടലാസുപൂവ്

Tamil – Kaagitha poo

Hindi – Booganbel

Description: Climbing shrub; It is an evergreen, climbing shrub with thick, thorny stems and drooping branches that are glabrous or sparsely hairy. The leaves have a 0.3 to 1 centimeter long stem. The leaf blade is ovate to ovate-lanceolate, pointed or briefly pointed, 5 to 13 centimeters long and 3 to 6 centimeters wide, sparsely fluffy hairy on the underside and bald on the top. The leaf-like bracts are purple, oblong or elliptical, pointed, 2.5 to 3.5 inches long and about 2 inches wide. They tower over the flowers. These grow individually in pairs or in groups of three on flower stems about 3.5 millimeters long.

The crown tube is greenish, clearly angled, about 2 centimeters long, sparsely downy hairy, ribbed and points away from the flower stalk. The tip is lobed five times and forms a short, spread, white or yellowish hem. The six to eight stamens have 8 to 13 millimeter long stamens. The ovary is about 2 millimeters long, the stylus 1 millimeter and the scar 2.5 millimeters. It usually grows 10–12 ft (3.0–3.7 m) tall, occasionally up to 30 ft (9 m). Tiny white flowers usually appear in clusters surrounded by colorful papery bracts, hence the name paperflower. The leaves are dark green, variable in shape, up to 4 in (10 cm) long. The flowers are about 0.4 cm in diameter (the pink petal-like structures are not petals, but bracts

Habitat: Widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions

Distribution: Native to Mexico

Uses: Medicinal,

Other:  With its sharp thick thorns it is avoided by cattle, goats, monkeys and even birds. A postal stamp was issued by the Indian Postal Department to commemorate this flower.