Short overview of bougainvillea
These plants are common on the leeward side of Oahu and come in a variety of colors including pink, red, and purple. A native plant to South America, they are found throughout the world in a variety of locations, but in dry, warm climates, such as the Honolulu coastal area, they bloom all year round. They are most notable for their large paper thin bracts that surround their small, often white, flowers.
How the bougainvillea plant got its name
Its name comes from Louis Antoine de Bougainville, a French explorer who was circumnavigating the world with French botanist Philibert Commercon from 1766 until their return to Europe in 1769. Commercon classified the plant during their brief stop in Brazil in 1768, naming the plant in his admiral’s honor. The number of original species of the plant is disputable, but currently there are probably over three hundred varieties.
Hazards of bougainvillea
Bougainvilleas have extremely vicious thorns and its sap has a reputation for causing itchy skin rashes comparable to other plants like poison ivy. This waxy, black substance in its thorns is only mildly toxic, but in some individuals can cause great skin irritation. Therefore, it is best to admire the lovely flowers of the bougainvillea and not try to pick any of them as a souvenir. They are more often found in parks, near businesses, by beaches, or along the roadways than in private gardens. This plant has a tendency in the Hawaiian climate to grow rapidly and is difficult to contain in a small area without lots of upkeep and pruning. Interested in learning more about O’ahu? Check out the author’s latest eBook available for download today!