Hailing from the Philippines, Eric teaches horticulture, a branch of botany that deals with flowers.
The Philippines is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. Despite the small size, it belongs to the 18 megabiodiverse countries in the world which include large nations like Brazil, China, India, Australia, and the United States. It ranks fifth in the number of plant species and maintains 5% of the earth's flora. It has 10,045 kinds of vascular plants (a group of the Kingdom Plantae where conifers, ferns, and angiosperms belong). The largest group of tracheophytes in the archipelago is the angiosperms with 8924 extant species.
They are flowering plants. They can be trees, vines, shrubs, weeds, or grass. You can find them anywhere in the country, in the garden, shops, swamp, forests, in the open fields, etc. Their colorful part, the flowers, have high importance in Filipino cultures. Like in the other parts of the planet, it is used as decorations for special occasions such as weddings bouquet, birthdays, religious rituals, and even funerals. During Valentine's Day, men give them to their partner and on All Souls' Day, people offer it to the deceased loved one. A month-long Penagbenga festival is celebrated every year which includes floats that are covered with blooms. Several cultures eat petals of a rose, hibiscus, bougainvillea, and squash. Some use them as additives on foods. They are also depicted in the stamps and coins include elephant apple, Sander's Vanda, and yamstick mangrove.
The current national flower is Sampaguita (Jasminium sambac) which is very famous in the nation and usually use as garlands and given to tourists as welcome offerings, and new graduates and competition winners as honorary symbols for their achievements. However, it is not endemic to the country because it can also find in other countries such as Indonesia. Congress wants it to change to Waling-waling (Vanda sanderiana), an orchid that is endemic and is worships by Bagobo tribes as a deity.
This article will showcase 10 of the most beautiful flowers which are endemic, native, or originated in the “Pearl of the Orient Sea.”
1. Rose Grape
Although it has the common name Philippine Orchid, it does not belong to the family Orchidae, it is named in that way because it is an epiphyte or lives on trees. They can grow up to 3 meters tall. It has a cluster of pink, red and purple blossoms. It is also named rose grape (Medinilla magnifica) due to its small, round, purple grape-like fruits. Most of the Filipinos use it for ornamental purposes only, it has sweet edible berries, but people thought it's poisonous (a myth). Some tribes eat not just the fruit but also its stem and leaves. It is also called the pink lantern tree, chandelier tree, love plant, and showy Medinilla.
2. Jade Vine
Jade vine (Strongylodon macrobotrys), also called an emerald vine, is one of the rarest and most expensive plants in the world. It was discovered on Mount Makiling in Laguna. This climber can grow up to 18 meters long belongs to the pea and legumes family.
It produces a 3-meter long of a large cluster of claw-like mint-green or turquoise blooms. It displays luminous quality at night to be easily seen by nocturnal bats that typically pollinate it.
3. Foxtail Orchid
There are approximately more than 1100 members of the family Orchidae that occur in the nation in which 900 of them are unique in its wildlife. Foxtail orchid is (Rhyncostylis retusa) one of the stunningly beautiful. It gets its name for the long inflorescence resembles a tail of a fox that can reach up to 15 inches long. It consists of more than 100 pink-spotted white blooms. At night, when the temperature is warm, it releases a spicy aroma. There are 4 extant species of its genus and all of them are can be found in the archipelago.
4. Monarch Rosemallow
Monarch Rosemallow (Hibiscus radiatus) is a kind of hibiscus that can grow 1-meter in height. It has large, trumpet-shaped, showy, mauve reproductive parts that have a fuchsia center. It is mistaken as marijuana due to its leaves' shape similar to cannabis. The shrub is believed to be a cure for fever and is considered a blood purifier.
5. Palawan Cherry Blossom
It is good news for the people who live in tropical countries and want to see the Japanese cherry blossom. The appearance of this plant is almost identical to the national flower of Japan, however, they come in different families. Sakura comes from the family of plums, cherries, peaches, and almonds, and lives in the cold climate while Palawan cherry blossom (Cassia nodosa) is from the family of legumes, pea, and bean and lives in the warm climate. It is a deciduous wood. When it sheds its leaves, it is nearly white from top to bottom due to the nearly pure white, tinged with the pink blossoms that remain on the branches. It is usually found in Palawan, Visayas, and the office of the President.
Narra (Pterocarpus indicus) is the national tree of the Philippines, also called Amboyna rosewood, Malay padauk, and Andaman redwood, can grow up to 40 meters tall. It has rose-scented, reddish hardwood and is resistant to termites, fungi, and flood that is usually used to make expensive furniture, houses, wood arts, etc. It has lots of uses including a source of an ingredient of shampoo, herbal medicine, and tea.
It has an orange-yellow inflorescence and is usually used as a source of honey. Like Cassia nodosa, it intends to shed its leaves. During the wet season, it becomes entirely yellow.
7. Red Silk-Cotton
Red silk-cotton (Bombax ceiba) is usually found on beaches and coastal areas of the archipelago. It has cup-shaped red blooms with 5 petals. When it loses its foliage, it becomes entirely red and mistakenly thought burning. It produces a brown oval capsule which, when ripe, contains white fibers that use for stuffing pillows and ropes.
8. Hooded Orchid
The local name of the hooded orchid (Dendrobium aphyllum), fairy sanggumay, got from its resemblance to a miniature flying fairy with translucent violet wings and a yellow body (lip) that usually attaches to the cane-like stem. It is used as a lie for the graduation ceremony, as decorations, and as a garland.
9. Queen of Philippines
Queen of Philippines (Mussaenda philippica) is a medium-sized tree reaching up to 3 meters tall. Its colors depending on the varieties such as Doña Luz (pink), Doña Aurora (white), and Doña Envangelina (red). The color pink, white, or red parts of the plant are not its flowers. It is the bracts or colored leaves that result from having no chlorophyll. The floret is orange, and star-shaped, and is located at the end of the cluster of bracts. It is usually used as ornamental plants for parks, and public gardens,s or along roadsides.
10. Passiflora moluccana
This is a kind of passionfruit is a climber that can grow up to 6 meters in length. It is the only type of its genus that has opposite leaves. The large reproductive part is decorated with complex patterns. It has white petals, a purple corona with white in the middle, and large green or yellow stamens at the center. It has a grenade-shaped fruit. It symbolizes the death of Jesus Christ.
Did you know that the largest individual flower in the world is native to the Philippines? It is called Rafflesia arnoldii or corpse lily. It has a diameter of 3-feet and larger than the size of a bicycle tire. However, it is not for your garden, because its smell is similar to a decomposing corpse and will attract flies and other parasites in your home. It is also protected and you can be penalized or possibly a 12-year prison sentence for just owning it.
- Plants of the Philippines | Project Noah
- List of the Orchidae of the Philippines - Wikipedia
- List of the Philippine Flora Families
- The most beautiful flowers in the world - Verdissimo
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Eric Caunca
Eric Caunca (author) from Laguna, Philippines on November 02, 2020:
Denise McGill, the King of Belgium is a big devodee of the Rose grape. Even it's not native to Belgium, he depicted it to their money bill. And passionflower does not give importance in the Philippines, it's fruit is only use as food to be consumed. Thanks for your comment. :-)
Amy on October 26, 2020:
These flowers are very beautiful. I especially liked the Jade vine and the Palawan cherry blossom. Thanks for sharing such an interesting article.
Treathyl FOX from Austin, Texas on October 24, 2020:
Every time I come across an article about the natural wonders of the Phillippines I always learn something new. These flowers are spectacular!
Denise McGill from Fresno CA on October 24, 2020:
The Rose Grape is certainly unique and new to me so I favored it. The Passion Flower vine is found around here in California. People love importing unique flowers and vines. I have seen them but never grew one myself. You have to have just the right place to let it climb and take over. Lovely flowers. Thanks for taking us on a tour of your flowers.
Eric Caunca (author) from Laguna, Philippines on October 21, 2020:
Thank you Adoracion del Cruz. Hindi po "Cherry Blossom" ung nasa list "Palawan Cherry Blossom" po iyon, magkaiba po yun. May nabibili po sa Lazada or Shopee na buto nyan. Pero ingat po kayu sa Monarch Marshmallow. What I've said, napagkakamalan po sya marijuana. Ibang gumamela na lng bilhin nyo. Salamat.
Adoracion dela Cruz on October 20, 2020:
Sakto sakto article sa panahon plantito plantita mga Pilipino, favorite ko queen of Philippines at gumamela na rare pati cherry blossoms sana magkaron ako
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 18, 2020:
Thank you for showcasing these spectacular flowers that grow in the Philippines. It was hard to choose just one in your poll for a favorite.
Ankita B on October 17, 2020:
Excellent article. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the different flowers native to Phillipines. The photos are beautiful.
Chrish Canosa from Manila Philippines on October 17, 2020:
Ipagbunyi ang yamang Pilipinas!
Salamat po kailangan ko ma meet yang si Rose grape.
Nithya Venkat from Dubai on October 17, 2020:
Interesting and informative article about the beautiful flowers in the Philipines. The jade vine is so beautiful and unique.
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on October 17, 2020:
The facts are interesting and the photos are beautiful. Thank you for creating this informative article, Eric. I enjoy learning about plants from the Philippines.