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The Meaning of the Plumeria Flower

By Eija Rissanen ; Updated July 21, 2017
"Frangipani at Cosy Beach" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: Swami Stream (Swaminathan) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

Plumeria flowers are used in art, in jewelry, as decorations and to represent different meanings in different cultures. Therefore, what you want to say with your plumeria gift depends on what culture you belong to and what meanings the gift receiver attaches to plumerias.

Plumeria Flower

Plumeria flower is easily recognized by its gentle and sweet fragrance. It has five small--about two to three inches in diameter--teardrop-shaped petals, and the color of the flowers vary from white, pink, yellow, red and orange to pastel colors.

Hawaiian Meaning

Plumeria has always been part of the Hawaiian lifestyle, first as an ornamental flower at funerals and cemeteries and today in jewelry and tattoos. For Hawaiians, plumeria represents perfection and the bond between everything good. In addition, plumeria is the symbol of new life, springtime and re-creation of the nature.

Chinese Meaning

In China, plumeria flowers are tokens of love. In China, it is not accustomed to share personal feelings, but giving a plumeria flower to your sweetheart has the same meaning as saying “I love you” or “You are special.” Chinese consider plumerias even more precious than orchids.

Hindu Meaning

In Hindu culture, plumeria flowers represent loyalty, and young brides wear plumerias in their hair on their wedding day to show their loyalty to their new husbands.

Vietnamese Meaning

In Vietnam, plumeria is the flower of the educated and westernized upper class. Therefore, plumeria flowers are used to show status in society.


About the Author


Eija Rissanen is a freelance journalist living in Hawaii. She has a journalism and environmental studies degree from Hawaii Pacific University. Her articles have been published in Kalamalama, the student newspaper of Hawaii Pacific University, and some other environmental and travel publications and Web sites in Europe and the United States.