The Republic of the Philippines is home to many tropical flowers that grow throughout the islands. This is due to the hot humid climate and spectacular rainforests. Some of these plants are sought after worldwide for fragrances, medicines, herbal treatments and teas. Many are worn as hair accessories, made into necklaces or purchased as gifts. Some of the flowers hold special religious signification to Filipinos.
Corpse Flower (Rafflesia manillana)
The Rafflesia manillana is found in the northern portion of the Philippines on the rainforest’s floor. This flower is a parasitic plant that has an awful stench like rotting meat permeating from it. The Rafflesia manillana is a huge plant without leaves, stems, roots or chlorophyll; its bloom can reach up to a meter in diameter and weigh 10kg. The flower has five red rust colored petals with while spots all over the fleshy pads of the blossom. The bloom is the only part of the plant ever visible above ground, and only lasts a week. The Rafflesia manillana is on the endangered plant list.
Sampaguita (Jasminum sambac)
The Sampaguita is also known as the Philippines Jasmine. It is an evergreen plant that grows woody vines that are 1 to 2m long. The leaves are glossy green small oval shapes about 6 to 12cm in length. The Sampaguita blooms a delicate star-shaped white flower throughout the whole year. This is the national flower of the Republic of the Philippines. This plant is grown from cuttings since it bears no seeds. The oil from the Sampaguita is sold in markets, the flower is used to make teas and it holds deep religious meaning to Filipinos as symbolizing divine hope.
Ylang-Ylang (Cananga odorata)
The ylang-ylang flower comes from a tropical evergreen tree that grows to be 100 feet in height. This tree can be found in Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Polynesian islands. The ylang-ylang flower takes three to four years to bloom and is most famously an ingredient to Chanel #5. It is also used in candles, oils, soaps and for medicinal purposes. The flower is yellow with 2-foot-long drooping petals that can emit a heady scent up to 30 feet away. Filipinos considered these flowers an excellent way to drive away evil spirits.
Gumamela (Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis Linn)
The gumamela, or hibiscus, is grown in the Philippines as an ornamental plant. It is a multi-branched shrub that grows from 1 to 4m in height and has glossy green leaves 7 to 12cm in length. The plant blooms with petals that have a multiple shade combination of one color, usually red, and the flower has a long stamen growing out of the middle of the blossom. This flower is used for a cough expectorant, to lower fevers, reduce headaches and treat various other ailments.