Frangipani Plumeria uses are many. Since the 16th century when the frangipani flower was discovered, people have been finding ways to enhance their lives with this marvelous scent.
Or perhaps I should say these marvelous scents.
Plumeria tree tops with the mountains behind them on romantic Maui.
Plumerias have been widely hybridized and there are many cultivars presently available--each with its own unique flower and fragrance.
There are Plumeria flowers that smell like grapes, gardenias, rain, coconut, ginger, candy, and spices.
One of the most popular cultivars, 'Vera Cruz Rose' has a fragrance as heavenly as a rose. The scent is so delicious that lei makers use it despite the fact that the flowers are not as long lasting as many others. They have the pickers harvest the blooms when they are just opening to maximize the useful life of the finished necklace.
Tiny gave me the lei I am wearing in this picture on my 43rd birthday.
Lei making is one of the most important commercial uses of the blossoms of the frangipani tree. A lei is a necklace made of fresh flowers that are strung together by hand. The method of stringing a lei is an ancient art passed down through generations. Most lei makers are women. The majority of the flowers used in leis are grown in Hawaii and Asia.
Another common frangipani plumeria use is as a fragrance for perfumes, soaps, lotions, and candles.
Natural plumeria fragrance consists of as many as 60 volatile plant compounds. The white, pink, and yellow cultivars usually contain more scent than the reds or rainbow colored blooms.
The interesting thing about frangipani perfume is that it was formulated by an Italian perfumer named Marquis Frangipani in the 16th century before the plant was discovered. Frangipani used his fragrance to scent gloves.
Later, when the plumeria flower was discovered, the scent reminded people of the fragrance of the gloves. They started calling them frangipani flowers.
The genus name, Plumeria, commemorates Charles Plumier, the botanist who actually discovered the tree. He also discovered the begonia, fuscia, lobelia and magnolia.
Frangipani flowers are held sacred in Bali, India and other tropical countries. They are used in religious ceremonies. Frangipani trees are often planted near temples and graves and revered as a "tree of life", symbolizing the eternal nature of the soul.
This picture was taken in the plumeria garden at the Maui Tropical Plantation.
Frangipani plumeria uses in aromatherapy:
Plumeria oil's heady, floral scent is used to lift the spirits and soothe emotional wounds. It does not dry the skin when added to lotions or massage oils.
Certain plants in the genus are known to have medicinal properties. An extract of the bark of *P. acutifolia was discovered to have antimutagenic properties. The leaf extract of P. rubra is antibacterial while its bark extract proved cytotoxic to certain human cancers.
Last among frangipani Plumeria uses is the sale of the plants themselves.
This is a growing worldwide industry. Western collectors can't get enough of these plants. They will pay fantastic prices for a rare flower form or color.
Even the common forms are expensive compared to other plants. A single cutting sells for $10. And that's without roots!
I myself paid $20 for a rooted cutting without blinking. And I'm not a serious collector, just someone who enjoys these delightful trees.
Never ingest any part of any plant without first verifying its safety by at least 3 different sources and checking with your doctor.
Some plants are deadly poisons and some interact badly with certain drugs. Nothing I say on this site is meant as medical advice. I'm not qualified to give it. Consult with a medical professional before using any herbal or home remedy. Be safe.