[one_half]Bougainvillea, originating in the Brazil-Peru region of South America, has become a signature tropical plant introduced to the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the United States. Generically called “The Paper Flower”, only one species, Bougainvillea glabra is actually the ‘paper flower’. Bougainvillea spectabillis is the Great Bougainvillea. Another widely spread species is Bougainvillea xbuttiana.

Bougainvillea is a shrub that often behaves either like a vine or a tree. Some bougainvillea on St. Thomas are greater than 15 feet in height.

[/one_half][one_half_last]These shrubs are easily hybridized and cultivated for the vibrant differences in color of the leaves surrounding the plants yellow, green or pink tinted white flowers. The leaves have been bred and cultivated to accompany blooms with bright bursts of purples, pinks, reds, oranges, yellows and violets. They are great at attracting pollinating insects and birds. Small island birds also use the thorny protection of the branches as sites for their nests.

Bougainvillea hybridization is so popular that difficulties have arisen in tracing direct lines to individual species.



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