Plumeria (or commonly known as the frangipani) is a genus native to the tropical and sub tropical Americas. They have successfully spread to all tropical locations of the world, including Thailand, where they are often considered as a native species.
They are one of the easiest tropical plants to grow; all they need to thrive is dry, well-drained soil, lots of sunlight and warm temperatures, making them a hit throughout gardens and homes in Thailand.
They are completely naturised throughout South East Asia, where sometimes local folk believe they provide shelter to ghosts and demons. The scent of the plumeria has been associated with a vampire in Malay folklore, and the flowers are heavily associated with religion and temple life in both Hindu and Buddhist cultures. Plumeria alba is the national flower of Laos, where it is known under the local name "Champa".
The plumeria is named after the seventeenth-century French botanist Charles Plumier, who travelled to the New World documenting numerous plant and animal species.
Many types of plumeria have strong sweet scented flowers. The incense of the plumeria flower are used in creating soft perfumes, and aroma therapies that are known for having soothing qualities.
There are hundreds of hybrids, some of them have such bright colours they are often mistaken as artificial.