The Common Frangipani Variety
The most common species of frangipani in Australia is the Plumeria rubra (P. rubra). Frangipani rubras are deciduous and can be identified by their leaf shape and texture. Frangipani rubras can be categorized into four sub species (see below) but it’s more useful to categorize rubras into 5 groups according to their main flower colour. It’s not possible to see colour combinations when looking at frangipani flowers from a distance. For example, if you look at a red, orange, pink and white flower from a distance, it will look orange.
We group our frangipani rubras into 6 main groups according to the flower colour from a distance.
The white frangipani flowers all have yellow centres which make them look cream from a distance. They are sometimes called “cream” but most people including us, just call them the common “white frangipani”. Some variations start with all yellow or mostly yellow flowers which look yellow from a distance. Even though the sun can cause yellow frangipani flowers to fade and look like the white flowers within days, they are called the “yellow frangipani”.
Frangipani flowers which are mostly pink and have some orange or yellow in the centre look pink from a distance and often called the common “pink frangipani”. Some varieties have an all pink flower such the firecracker (pale pink), cherry cheeks (redish pink). The “hot pink cerise” is quite a special variety due to its large flower, strong uniform colour and unique scent. Many flower varieites have a combination of red, orange, pink, yellow and white which look “orange” from a distance. When you look at them closely (1 metre or so), you can see why they also get called multicolour or tricolour. Frangipani flowers which look red from a distance sometimes have a small amount of orange in the centre. They usually have a smaller flower, a more mild scent.
There’s one special flower worth mentioning here. The Kimberley Sunset. It looks red from a distance but has a beautiful combination of colours including deep pink, orange and something resembling dark gold. We don’t like to include this one in our red category because most reds are uniform in colour so we’re hoping this will become our seventh category.
Rubra Sub Species
*It’s been said that the name “rubra” originated because hundreds of years ago this frangipani species only had a red flower. Cross pollination with other frangipani species has resulted in more rubra varieties, most of which are hardier than the red variety.. Since most other frangipani species have white flowers, crossing with the red rubra has resulted in many rubra variations with a pink flower. Rubras are categorized into four categories. *The pinks and reds fall into the P. rubra rubra category and the whites in the P. rubra acutifolia category.
The Popular Frangipani
The second most commonly found frangipani species in Australia is the Plumeria obtusa (p. obtusa). Obtusas are considered evergreen because they keep some or most of their leaves all year round in tropical and sub-tropical areas. They can be distinguished from other frangipanis by their large glossy leaves which have a leathery texture. There are two main varieties of obtusa, the white obtusa, which is commonly called the Singapore frangipani, and the pink obtusa which has a small pale pink flower and is a dwarf variety. Both varieties have leathery glossy leaves but the pink variety has smaller leaves. The pink obtusa is a dwarf grows wider and up to half the height of other frangipanis. There are slight variations on the name of these two varieties for the “Singapore Petite Pink”.
The Hedging Frangipani
The frangipani pudica (P. pudica) is relatively new to Australia. It’s leaf shape is a hammer shape and it’s growing habits are quit different from the two species mentioned previously. They can produce new branches from the trunk and branch stems and they become bushy with pruning. The pudica is also known as “Everlasting Love” and the “Hammerhead frangipani”. It is evergreen, fast growing and a great flower producer. It looks great in Febraury and when it is sold in a new pot with an Everlasting Love tag, it makes a great Valentine Present.
The Variety For Collectors
The frangipani stenophylla (p. stenophylla) has needle like leaves. It’s branches are long and thin and can grow in S shapes as they grow up to the sun and the branch ends get weighed down by dense foliage. Branches can be supported and shaped as desired. It produces small white flowers. It is also known as “White Magic”. The stenophylla is not the most sought after of frangipanis but it is a necessity for collectors and frangipani lovers.
* Source of information has been forgotten or from an unreliable source. Feel free to provide evidence from a reliable source to support information with this symbol or to disprove anything on the website.