Did You Know About These 10 Flowers that are Native to the Philippines

Humans have been relying on flowers to express their emotions since time immemorial. Visiting an ailing person in a hospital? Allergy-free Chrysanthemums are a go-to. Confessing your undying love for someone? A bunch of roses is a no-brainer. Want to congratulate a newly-wed couple? Send orchids! Speaking of orchids, did you know that there are 1100 species of orchids and 900 out of these are native to the country Philippines? In no particular order, listed below are 10 flowers that are endemic to the Philippines.

Sampaguita (Jasminum sambac)

It is known as Arabic Jasmine in English and no, it is not native to Arabia. Sampaguita was crowned the national flower of the Philippines in 1934 by Frank Murphy, the then Governer-General. It did seem fitting since it was and still is popular, fragrant, and holds ornamental values. Garlands of Sampaguita are used to adorn portraits of saints as well tombstones. However, the fact that Sampaguita is endemic to the Philippines is debatable since other countries like India, Myanmar, and Srilanka too have these fragrant whites in abundance. This used as fillers to make the flowers bouquet, you can have a look by clicking here

Rafflesia (Rafflesia schadenbergiana)

Imagine a tire of a truck. That is how big this flower is! Measuring up to 80cms in diameter, the genus Rafflesia schadenbergiana has the second-largest flower in the world. It was first discovered in 1882 and was declared extinct because it wasn’t found for a century. It was discovered again in 1994 in the province of South Cotabato in the Philippines. A parasitic flower with no roots, stems, or leaves, Rafflesia smells like a rotting corpse and hence has the name ‘Corpse Flower’. So, the next time you are on the island of  Mindanao and notice a foul smell, there’s a high chance you have a Rafflesia around you.

Rose Mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos)

Rose Mallow, also known as Swamp Rose Mallow, grows up to 7 feet tall and thrives in wet environments. Hence the word ‘swamp’ is in the name. These flowers are big and showy with up to 6 inches in diameter. It is used in the production of herbal teas and black teas. Other genera of Hibiscus, such as Hibiscus rosasinesis, are very popular and widespread in other parts of the world.

Waling Waling (Vanda sanderiana)

Waling Waling is crowned as the ‘Queen of Philippines Orchids’. Look under the foothills of Mount Apo in Mindanao, the Philippines to find these beauties in excessive quantities. These flowers suspend 12 meters above the floor and are harvested for their boldly colorful hybrids. This practice led to the threat of extinction of this species. However, tissue culture came to the rescue and these queens were re-propagated.

Jade Vine (Strongylodon macrobotrys)

Tayabak, or Jade Vine, is a rare yet beautiful flower that looks like a claw. It is native to the tropical forests in the Philippines. It is light bluish-green and has a name for itself even in exotic plants. This fragile yet fascinating flower grows up to 3 meters in length. Sadly it is labeled as an endangered species since the pollinators seem to have decreased in number.

Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)

Ylang Ylang looks more like a starfish than a flower because of the shape of its yellow-green petals. It derives its name from Tagalog and means ‘rare’. Well, rightly so! These flowers give out a unique fragrance and their essential oils are extracted to use in aromatherapy. These flowers are endemic to the Philippines and need acidic soil found in rainforests to survive.

Rose Grape (Medinilla magnifica)

It is also known as Kapa-Kapa, Rose Grape is a spectacular flower growing in the rainforests of Luzon and Mindoro in the Philippines. It is also called the Chandelier Plant because of the arrangement that reaches up to 30 cms in height. Although it grows on other trees, Rose Grape does not feed off of them. It can also be tended as a houseplant!

Sacred Garlic Pear (Crateva religiosa)

Measuring over 10 cms in diameter, these showy flowers have long stamens which make them look like spiders. Hence the name Spider Tree. Why is it named Sacred Garlic Pear you ask? Well, its fruit tastes a bit like garlic and is hence used as a spice as well as herbal medicine. Although native in the Philippines, it is abundant in other countries like Japan, Australia, Africa, etc.

Attenborough’s Pitcher Plant (Nepenthes attenboroughii)

Named after Sir David Attenborough, this species of pitcher plant grows in the Palawan region of the Philippines. IT can grow 1.5 m long and is filled with fluid. Due to excessive plant poaching. it is labeled ‘critically endangered’ by the World Conservation Union.

Sea Poison Tree (Barringtonia asiatica)

Sea Poison Tree is endemic to the mangroves on the tropical coasts and islands of the Pacific and Indian oceans. This also includes the Philippines. It is also known as Fish Poison Tree or Box Fruit because of the distinctive box-like fruit it produces.

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