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View of Buck Island from East End, St. Croix, USVI
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Plants Bougainvillea

Scientific & Common Names:

Bougainvillea spectabilis, of the Nyctaginaceae family, is commonly known as bougainvillea

Native to:

South America

Description:

Bougainvillea is a tropical and subtropical woody, evergreen, shrubby vine. Typically multi-trunked or with clumping stems, it has a spreading, round plant habit with a height and spread of up to 20 feet. It climbs by sending out slender arching canes armed with stiff curved thorns. Leaves are small, elliptical, and become narrow to a point. Paper-like flowers grow in clusters of bright colors ranging from a dark pink or purple to a subtle white. Enclosed inside each paper-like case is a single, tiny, tubular, white flower. This plant is named after Louis de Bougainville, a French navigator. While in Brazil, he found these beautiful plants and brought them back to his home in Europe for cultivation. They readily root from cuttings, prefer full sun, and can withstand drought as well as heavy pruning. When admiring these beauties, be careful not to grab a hold of their stem because of the large, widely spaced thorns.

Toxicity:

The sap of the bougainvillea can cause serious skin rashes.