Kampala Tree and Palm Directory

Tree Species
Common Name
Tree Description
Tree Uses

English: Temple tree, Frangipani.

+ Tree Species

Plumeria rubra

+ Tree Family


+ Ecology

Frangipani is native to Mexico. This tropical species is extremely sensitive to frost, growing well in lowland, drier regions in well-drained, light and sandy soils, often found near the coast but also in highland areas near the equator. It is a deciduous tree, blooming before the rainy season and dormant during the dry season. Plumerias are some of the most popular trees of the tropics, famous for their gorgeous flowers. In Kampala, Temple tree can be found within Makerere university, Kitante courts, along Buganda road, Kololo Hill drive among other places.

+ Description

Frangipani is a deciduous, semi-succulent shrub or small tree with a broad crown that is often as wide as the tree is tall; it can grow up to 12 meters tall in the wild but is usually smaller in cultivation. The boles of wild trees can be 25cm in diameter. The branches are rounded and swollen, almost sausage-like in appearance. The bark exudes a milky, white, latex liquid when cut or bruised.

BARK: thin, grey-green with a slight shine. It appears to have large scales which are large leaf scars left behind from fallen leaves. Small tree with green fleshy branches later thickening to brown woody stems.

LEAVES: simple, found in clusters branch ends, lanceolate to obovate in shape, alternate in arrangement with varying in size from 10-50cm long. They are smooth with a matte-green upper surface and a lighter underside. P. rubra has a thick and distinct midrib, with leaf veins having secondary nerves branching out from the main central nerve. The horizontal leaf veins join up near the leaf margin, this is known as anastomosing.

FLOWERS: Pink, Purple, Red, White, Yellow / Golden.

FRUITS: Black, Brown, follicle with a linear oblong to ellipsoid shape. They are normally between 15 - 30cm, with a hard or dry texture. 

+ Uses

Edible: flowers are eaten in sweetmeats. http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php id=Plumeria+rubra

Medicine: bark, leaves, milky juice (latex), and sap. http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php id=Plumeria+rubra

An essential oil is obtained from the flowers.

The flowers are used to scent coconut.

The tree can be used to produce a rubber.

The wood is employed in some regions for articles of turnery.

An ornamental tree.

+ Propagation

Seeds, stem tip cuttings, layering.

+ Management

Requires pruning for strong structure and remove drooping branches as tree gets older.

+ Remarks

One of the most common and best known ornamental trees cultivated in the tropics. The milky white latex is said to be poisonous if ingested or an irritant to the skin, however, it can be used to treat earaches.

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