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Bougainvillea ( ) is a genus of flowering plants native to South America from Brazilmarker west to Perumarker and south to southern Argentinamarker (Chubut Province). Different authors accept between four and 18 species in the genus. The plant was discovered in Brazilmarker in 1768, by Philibert Commerçon, French Botanist accompanying French Navy admiral and explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville during his voyage of circumnavigation.

They are thorny, woody vines growing anywhere from 1-12 meters tall, scrambling over other plants with their hooked thorns. The thorns are tipped with a black, waxy substance. They are evergreen where rainfall occurs all year, or deciduous if there is a dry season. The leaves are alternate, simple ovate-acuminate, 4-13 cm long and 2-6 cm broad. The actual flower of the plant is small and generally white, but each cluster of three flowers is surrounded by three or six bracts with the bright colors associated with the plant, including pink, magenta, purple, red, orange, white, or yellow. Bougainvillea glabra is sometimes referred to as "paper flower" because the bracts are thin and papery. The fruit is a narrow five-lobed achene.

Bougainvillea are relatively pest-free plants, but may suffer from worms and aphids. The larvae of some Lepidoptera species also use them as food plants, for example the Giant Leopard Moth.

Cultivation and uses

Bougainvilleas are popular ornamental plants in most areas with warm climates, including Indonesiamarker, Arubamarker, the Philippinesmarker, Thailandmarker, Pakistanmarker, Indiamarker, Sri Lankamarker, Taiwanmarker, Vietnammarker, Malaysiamarker, Australia, Singaporemarker, the Mediterranean region, the Caribbeanmarker, Mexicomarker, South Africa, Kuwaitmarker,and the United Statesmarker in Arizonamarker, Californiamarker, Floridamarker, Hawaiimarker, Louisianamarker, South Carolinamarker, and southern Texasmarker.

Numerous cultivars and hybrid have been selected, including nearly thornless shrubs. Some Bougainvillea cultivars are sterile, and are propagated from cuttings.

Bougainvillea are rapid growing and flower all year in warm climates, especially when pinched or pruned. They grow best in moist fertile soil. Bloom cycles are typically four to six weeks. Bougainvillea grow best in very bright full sun and with frequent fertilization, but the plant requires little water to flower. As indoor houseplants in temperate regions, they can be kept small by bonsai techniques. If overwatered, Bougainvillea will not flower and may lose leaves or wilt, or even die from root decay.


Various species of Bougainvillea are the official flowers of the island of Grenadamarker, the island of Guammarker, of Lienchiang and Pingtung Counties in Taiwanmarker, Ipohmarker, Malaysia[68188] and of the cities of Tagbilaran, Philippinesmarker; Camarillo, Californiamarker; Laguna Niguel, Californiamarker; San Clemente, Californiamarker; and Naha, Okinawa.


Image:Red Bougainvillea in Malaysia.jpg|Red Bougainvillea in MalaysiamarkerImage:Bougainvillea-Taormina-Sicilia-Italy-Castielli CC0 HQ.jpg|Purple bougainvilleas in TaorminamarkerImage:DSCF4904-Bougainvillea-Taormina-Sicilia-Italy-Castielli CC0 HQ.jpg|Purple bougainvilleas in TaorminamarkerImage:Starr_030418-0058_Bougainvillea_spectabilis.jpg|Bougainvillea spectabilisImage:Bougainvillea close.jpg|Purple bougainvilleaImage:Bougainvillea-Flowers-KayEss-1.jpeg|Yellow bougainvillea

Image:RedOrangeBougainvillea.jpg|As seen in Tel Avivmarker, IsraelImage:Bougainvillea_San_Diego.jpg‎|Bougainvillea is a common sight along Interstate overpasses in San Diego, CaliforniamarkerImage:Bougainvillea-Taormina-Sicilia-Italy-Castielli CC0 HQ3.jpg|Purple bougainvilleas in TaorminamarkerImage:九重葛 Dscf8137-11.jpg|Image:九重葛 Dscf8149-22.jpg|Image:九重葛 Dscf8152-24.jpg|Image:Bougainvillea-3colors.jpg.jpg|Three colors of bougainvillea adorn a fence in Los AngelesImage:Bouganvelia.JPG|Purple Baugainvillea, Kolkata IndiaImage:Bougain.jpg|Purple bougainvilleas in Cameron Highlandsmarker.File:Buganvilia.jpg|In Veracruzmarker, Mexicomarker.

Gallery 2

Image:Safari_2005_lush_bouganvilla.jpg InKenyamarker Africa, at Amboselimarker Game lodge.


  1. Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607

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