Botanist's Glossary

Frangipani - Plumeria rubra

  • Description
    • Frangipani (Apocynaceae family) is a small evergreen tropical tree native to Central America. It has thick branches and produces a white latex. Frangipani has spread throughout all tropical regions. Known as the "temple tree", it is found around Buddhist temples, with its white, purple, pink or yellow flowers with a darker-colored center and a sweet, penetrating scent. It tends to lose its leaves during periods of drought. The frangipani is one of the most beautiful flowering tropical trees.
  • Traditions
    • The tree was named "Frangipani" in 1700 by the French botanist, Tournefort, in honor of an Italian perfumer of the 16th century. In India, women would steep frangipani flowers in their beauty oil so that they could perfume their skin with its warm, delicious scent. The frangipane (almond paste) used in baking has a similar odor.
  • Properties
    • An absolute can be extracted from frangipani flowers. It is highly sought after in perfumery for its exotic, warm, floral, almond scent with hints of vanilla. L'OCCITANE chose to use an aqueous extract of the flowers from Madagascar to enrich one of the versions of its famous Shea Butter Ultra Rich Body Cream.