Malaysia is home to some of the world's largest orchids such as the Vanda. Orchids, which are parasites, grow in both dead and alive trees. About 800 different species of orchids are found in Malaysia. Orchids fall into three categories including climbing, epiphytic and terrestrial orchids. Examples of wild orchids are tiger or giant orchids growing on crowns of larger trees, and pigeon orchids.
The ixora, which originated in the Asia-Pacific area, is one of Malaysia's best known garden shrubs and serves as excellent hedges. Ixoras thrive in the sun and bloom year-round. They come in various colors; however, bright red is the most common shade. The nectar of the ixora is sweet, and children enjoy sucking it out of the plant.
Hibiscus flowers, originating in China and the Pacific Islands, are Malaysia's national flower. Hibiscuses grow throughout the country, with flowers blooming year-round. The flowers of hibiscus only last for a day or two, however new buds continue to open the following day. Besides their beauty, hibiscus flowers are also used for cosmetics and medicine, as well as for dyeing eyebrows and hair. What's more, the flower's petals can be used for polishing shoes.
The Lantana Camara, also known as Bunga Tahi Ayam, is an American flower, but is also grown in Malaysia. The flower has clusters that are in the shape of an umbrella. Although Lantana Camaras come in different colors, the most popular shades are oranges and yellows. Lantana Camaras have a strong odor that's almost bitter.
Although rafflesia flowers aren't known for their fragrance or beauty, they're noted for being one of the largest flowers in the world. An average specimen has flowers that are as wide as 20 inches across. This flower is also a parasite; it feeds off surrounding vines. They're also known as "corpse flowers" because they smell like rotting flesh.
Chrysanthemums, belonging to the Compositae family, are perennial flowers with soft, fragile stems that are known for their strong smell. Typically, chrysanthemums are large and come in various attractive colors. Chrysanthemum morifollium is called "mum" in Malaysia and is grown in Cameron Highlands, Pahang.