What's blooming at Baltimore's Rawlings Conservatory?
Photo credit: Michael Lemmon
The plumeria is an exotic beauty recognized most as the welcoming “lei flower” in Hawaii where it is called “melia.”
Native to the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean, and Mexico, this tropical has delicate blooms that come in a range of yellows and pinks and have a strong, sweet fragrance.
It is named after Charles Plumier, a seventeenth-century French botanist.
Another name for plumeria is frangipani, named after an Italian noble family that created a plumeria-scented perfume.
In Asia the plant is believed to shelter ghosts and is widely planted in cemeteries. It is blooming now at Baltimore's Rawlings Conservatory in Druid Hill Park.