Flowering tropical plants are cherished for their blooms, which are frequently larger and more colorful than the blossoms found in the plants of cooler regions. Cultivated tropical flowers can add a burst of much-needed color to a garden, and cut flowers can easily brighten the inside of a home.
Hibiscus is a genus of flowering plants that includes more than 200 different species. The Chinese hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) is a frequently cultivated tropical hibiscus that is the national flower of Malaysia. The large red flowers are edible and sometimes used as a colorful addition to salads. The Philip Island hibiscus (Hibiscus insularis) is a rare plant that is native exclusively to Philip Island, a small island in Australia near Norfolk Island. The plant, which is listed as critically endangered, often blooms year round with creamy white and hot pink flowers.
With almost 22,000 species, orchids are the largest family of flowering plants. These extravagant blooms can be found in rain forests and temperate climates all over the world, growing in variable habitats ranging from rain forest tree branches to sand stone rocks. Notable orchid species include the pink rock orchid (Dendrobium kingianum), a delicate pink orchid native to Eastern Australia, and the black orchid (Masdevallia rolfeana), a deep purple and pale green orchid native to Costa Rica.
The anthurium genus contains more than 1,000 species of flowers, most of which grow in rain forests in the Americas. A popular nursery anthurium is the oilcloth flower (Anthurium andraeanum), also called a painter's palette. Native to Colombia, these flowers have a waxy, palette shaped "petal" called a spathe, and a protruding spadix. The spathe comes in vibrant shades of pink, red and pure white, and the leaves are often heart shaped. The plant is poisonous if ingested.