A global community of nature enthusiasts
photographing and learning about wildlife
The color is the bracts and the flower is inside of the color leaves
Photo taken in Honolulu
Species Identification Sheet Common name: Pukanawila - Bougainvillea - Paper Flower Scientific name: Bougainvillea Geographic area of origin: South America to Brazil west to Peru and south th southern Argentina. Common uses/hazards/importance: Bougainvilleas are often used as porch climbers and hedges, or ornamental. Bougainvilleas have extremely vicious thorns and its sap has a reputation for causing itchy skin rashes comparable to other plants like poison ivy. This waxy, black substance in its thorns is only mildly toxic, but in some individuals can cause great skin irritation. Therefore, it is best to admire the lovely flowers of the bougainvillea and not try to pick any of them as a souvenir. Distinguishing features: They are a thorny and evergreen plant. The flower of all Bougainvilleas is white. You have to look closely to see a Bougainvillea flower, as it is hidden in the center of the bracts. Bracts are modified leaves and it is the bracts that are so brightly colored on a Bougainvillea. Bougainvilleas come in a wide array of colors, including lilac, pink, purple, red, white and yellow. The common bougainvillea can easily be trained to vine up trellises, or shaped to form large bushes. The torch glow, a variety of bougainvilleas, is not a vine-friendly plant. The torch glow is a free-standing and compact, tree-like bush. Date and method of arrival in Hawaii: The Bougainvillea eventually found its way to Hawai'i when Father Alexis John Augustine Bachelot brought the plant with him when he arrived off the coast of Honolulu around July of 1827 Indigenous? no Endemic? no Invasive? no Other interesting historical, cultural, or ecological information: The bougainvillea is a South America native plant, initially found growing from Brazil west to Peru and south to southern Argentina. Today, bougainvillea grows well in warmer climates and can be found in warmer states, such as California, Arizona, Florida, Texas, Hawaii, and in other countries such as Taiwan, India, Malaysia, Australia, Mexico, the Caribbean and in Mediterranean areas.This plant has a tendency in the Hawaiian climate to grow rapidly and is difficult to contain in a small area without lots of upkeep and pruning. Various species of Bougainvillea are the official flowers of the island of Guam; Liechiang and Pingtung Counties in Taiwan Ipoh, Malaysia. Flowering season is from March to May. 1769 Philibert Commerson is credited with discovering the plant in Brazil and then naming it after Louis Antoine de Bougainville.