Errah is a bookwormy and logophilic writer and science & technology teacher. He often writes about scientific ideas, theories, and research.
Beautiful Flowers Found in the Philippines
The Philippines is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. Despite its small size, it is one of the 18 mega-biodiverse countries in the world, which include large nations like Brazil, China, India, Australia, and the United States.
It ranks fifth in the number of plant species and maintains 5% of the earth's flora. It has 10,045 kinds of vascular plants (a group of the kingdom Plantae where conifers, ferns, and angiosperms belong). The largest group of tracheophytes in the archipelago is the angiosperms, with 8,924 extant species.
They are flowering plants and can be trees, vines, shrubs, weeds, or grass. You can find them anywhere in the country—in gardens, indoors, shops, swamps, forests, and open fields. Their colorful parts, the flowers, are significant among Filipino cultures. Like the other parts of the plant, they are used as decorations for special occasions, such as weddings, birthdays, religious rituals, and even funerals.
On Valentine's Day, men give them to their partners, and on All Souls' Day, people offer them to their deceased loved ones. The month-long Penagbenga Festival is celebrated every year, which includes floats that are covered with blooms. Several cultures eat petals of rose, hibiscus, bougainvillea, and squash. Some use them as food additives. Plants, such as elephant apple, Sander's Vanda, and yamstick mangrove, are depicted on stamps and coins.
The current national flower in the Philippines is Sampaguita (Jasminium sambac), which is often used in garlands and given to tourists as welcome offerings and new graduates or competition winners as honorary symbols for their achievements. However, it is not endemic to the country because it can also be found in other countries, such as Indonesia. Congress wants to change the national flower to Waling-waling (Vanda sanderiana), an orchid that is endemic and worshiped by Bagobo tribes as a deity.
This article will showcase 20 of the most beautiful flowers which are endemic, native, or originated in the “Pearl of the Orient Sea.”
The 20 Most Beautiful Flowers That Grow in the Philippines
- Jade Vine
- Rose Grape
- Hooded Orchid
- Foxtail Orchid
- Palawan Cherry Blossom
- Monarch Rosemallow
- Red Silk-Cotton
- Passiflora moluccana
- Queen of Philippines
- Coral tree
- Water lilies
- Rainbow eucalyptus tree
- Joseph's coat or edible amaranth
- Attenborough's pitcher plant
- Grape-leaved anemone
- Paphiopedilum philippinense
- Easter lily
1. Jade Vine
Jade vine (Strongylodon macrobotrys), also called emerald vine, is one of the world's rarest and most expensive plants. It was discovered on Mount Makiling in Laguna. This climber can grow up to 18 meters long and belongs to the pea and legumes family.
It produces a three-meter-long cluster of claw-like mint-green or turquoise blooms. It displays luminous quality at night to be easily seen by the nocturnal bats that typically pollinate it.
2. Rose Grape
Although it has the common name Philippine Orchid, it does not belong to the family Orchidae; it is named in that way because it is an epiphyte or lives on trees. They can grow up to three meters tall. It has a cluster of pink, red, and purple blossoms. It is also named rose grape (Medinilla magnifica) due to its small, round, purple grape-like fruits.
Most Filipinos use it for ornamental purposes only; it has sweet edible berries, but people often think it's poisonous (a myth). Some tribes eat not just the fruit but also its stem and leaves. It is also called the pink lantern tree, chandelier tree, love plant, and showy Medinilla.
3. Hooded Orchid
There are more than 1,100 members of the family Orchidae in the nation; 900 of them are unique to the Philippines. One of the most beautiful is the hooded orchid.
The local name of the hooded orchid (Dendrobium aphyllum), fairy sanggumay, came from its resemblance to a miniature flying fairy with translucent violet wings and a yellow body (lip) that usually attaches to the cane-like stem. The flower is often used in leis for graduation ceremonies or as decorations or garlands.
4. Foxtail Orchid
The foxtail orchid (Rhyncostylis retusa) is one of the most stunningly beautiful flowers in the world. It is named for the long inflorescence that resembles the tail of a fox and can reach up to 15 inches long. It consists of more than 100 pink-spotted white blooms. At night, when the temperature is warm, it releases a spicy aroma. There are four extant species of its genus, and all of them can be found in the archipelago.
5. Palawan Cherry Blossom
It is good news for the people who live in tropical countries and want to see the Japanese cherry blossom. This plant is almost identical to the national flower of Japan; however, they come from different families.
Sakura comes from the family of plums, cherries, peaches, and almonds and lives in cold climates, while Palawan cherry blossom (Cassia nodosa) is from the family of legumes, peas, and beans and lives in warm climates.
It is a deciduous wood. When it sheds its leaves, it is nearly white from top to bottom due to the nearly pure-white, pink-tinged blossoms that remain on the branches. It is usually found in Palawan, Visayas, and the office of the president.
Narra (Pterocarpus indicus) is the national tree of the Philippines. Also called Amboyna rosewood, Malay padauk, and Andaman redwood, it can grow up to 40 meters tall. It has rose-scented, reddish hardwood usually used to make expensive furniture, houses, and wood arts. It is resistant to termites, fungi, and floods and is used in many ways, including in shampoo, herbal medicine, and tea.
It has an orange-yellow inflorescence and is usually used as a source of honey. Like Cassia nodosa, it intends to shed its leaves. During the wet season, it becomes entirely yellow.
7. Monarch Rosemallow
Monarch Rosemallow (Hibiscus radiatus) is a kind of hibiscus that can grow one meter in height. It has large, trumpet-shaped, showy, mauve reproductive parts that have a fuchsia center. Its leaves are shaped similarly to those of the cannabis plant, so it is often mistaken for marijuana. The shrub is believed to be a cure for fever and is considered a blood purifier.
8. Red Silk-Cotton
Red silk-cotton (Bombax ceiba) is usually found on beaches and coastal areas of the archipelago. It has cup-shaped red blooms with five petals. When it loses its foliage, it becomes entirely red and is mistakenly thought to be burning. It produces a brown oval capsule that, when ripe, contains white fibers that use for stuffing pillows and ropes.
9. Passiflora moluccana
This is a kind of passionfruit is a climber that can grow up to six meters in length. It is the only type of its genus that has opposite leaves. The large reproductive part is decorated with complex patterns. It has white petals, a purple corona with white in the middle, and large green or yellow stamens at the center. It has a grenade-shaped fruit. It symbolizes the death of Jesus Christ.
10. Queen of Philippines
Queen of Philippines (Mussaenda philippica) is a medium-sized tree reaching up to three meters tall. Its colors vary depending on the varieties, such as Doña Luz (pink), Doña Aurora (white), and Doña Envangelina (red).
The pink, white, or red parts of the plant are not its flowers. It is the bracts or colored leaves that result from having no chlorophyll. The floret is orange and star-shaped and is located at the end of the cluster of bracts. It is usually used as an ornamental plant for parks and public gardens or planted along roadsides.
11. Coral Tree
The coral tree ( Erythrina variegata ) is a species of a deciduous, evergreen tree in the legume family Fabaceae. It can reach heights of up to 30 meters. The appearance of the tree is similar to that of sea corals, especially when it loses its leaves, which is where its common name comes from. Branches grow sprawlingly and are arranged similarly to hard sea coral branches. The woody structures are also covered in corky, green-gray bark with spikes, giving the appearance of sprouting coral branches and coral polyps. Flowers are showy, bean-shaped, bright scarlet or coral-red, and arranged in a circular pattern. The plant begins blooming in March and continues to bloom throughout the cool and dry seasons.
12. Water Lilies
Water lilies are aquatic perennial plants of the Nymphaeaceae family. They thrive in freshwater bodies of water such as lakes and ponds. Their roots and stems are submerged underwater and attach to the muddy bottom, while their leaves, flowers, and fruits float on the surface of the water. The length of their stem corresponds to the depth of the water. If the water is deep, the stems are long; if the water is shallow, the stems are short. The stems grow until they reach the surface of the water, at which point they stop growing and start to sprout leaves and flowers. Their leaves, also known as lily pads, are typically round with a V-notch. Flowers are attractive and showy, and they have a strong fragrance. They have many petals that are spirally arranged. Their colors depend on the species.
Two species of water lilies are native to the Philippines. These are hairy water lily and star lotus. Hairy water lilies get their name from the hairy stems and undersides of their leaves. The flowers come in a variety of colors, ranging from pink to white, purple to mauve, depending on the type. Their petals close during the day and open at night. Star lotuses, on the other hand, have blue or mauve petals which have angular corners that give them a star-like appearance, hence their common names.
13. Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree
The rainbow eucalyptus tree (Eucalyptus deglupta), also known as Mindanao gum, is a tall colorful eucalyptus tree that can reach a height of 250 meters. It has vertical streaks of violet, orange, blue, green, yellow, and red that run through its trunk and branches. At first glance, it appears to be an abstract painting on a tree. The coloration is caused by the pigment tannins, which are produced when the cells on the surface of the bark become age.
The leaves of rainbow eucalyptus are long, leathery, and waxy, and they grow in opposite pairs. They emit an aromatic odor, like other eucalyptuses, especially when crushed. The flowers are tiny, white, or pale yellow and clustered together. They do not have petals, instead, they have a lot of long stamens which make the flowers conspicuous and appear fluffy.
14. Joseph’s Coat or Edible Amaranth
The Joseph's coat or edible amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor) is a member of the spinach family, Amaranthaceae. This small annual shrub can grow to be 2-4 feet tall. It is distinguished from other amaranths by having multicolored leaves. The leaves are simple, entire, and lanceolate-oblong, and they are arranged spirally on the stem. They are typically green, but in the summer, they transform into a vibrant multicolored display of green, yellow, orange, scarlet, maroon, cream, and red.
The pendulous, small deep-purple flowers are arranged in large, elongated clusters. They emerge from a stalk that is longer than the plant's foliage. This amaranth is used as an ornamental plant in gardens, streets, and parks. It can also be used as a culinary ingredient and as herbal medicine.
Asters are a genus of herbaceous flowering plants that belong to the Asteraceae family, which also includes sunflowers and daisies. The name is derived from the Greek word for star, which refers to the shape of the bloom, which resembles a star. They symbolize patience, love, good fortune, and delicacy.
The height ranges from 1-4 feet. The leaves are generally long, simple, and alternate. The flowers, at the first glance, appear to be a single flower but they are actually a cluster of hundreds of miniature flowers. If you look closely in the yellow center (disc), you will notice the tiny flowers. The large, conspicuous petals that surround the disc are known as ray florets. The color and number of ray florets vary depending on the species.
The Philippines is home to two species of asters — Aster trinervius and Aster philippinensis. The ray florets of Aster trinervius are purple, whereas those ofAster philippinensis is white
16. Attenborough’s Pitcher Plant
Attenborough's pitcher plant (Nepenthes attenboroughii) is the world's largest carnivorous plant. It is a tall shrub that can grow up to 5 feet tall. The stem is usually prostrate or decumbent. Flowers bloom on inflorescences that sprout from the apex of the main stem. The flower's description varies according to gender. Male flowers are red with no bracts, whereas female flowers are brown or purple with ovate petals. The leaves are sessile and form a rosette. They are broad and leathery, with a specialized cup-shaped leaf, called a pitcher, on the tip of each of them. The pitcher is used as a trap for the plant's prey. It contains a liquid enzyme that aids in its victim's drowning and digestion.
The Attenborough pitcher plant is famous for producing enormous pitchers. The pitchers have a diameter of nearly 6 inches and a height of almost 12 inches. They have a volume capacity of up to 2 liters. Because they are so large, they can catch not only insects and other bugs, but also frogs, lizards, and small birds, as well as rodents, earning the plant the moniker "venus rat traps." This endangered plant is endemic to Mount Victoria on the Philippine island of Palawan.
17. Grape-Leaved Anemone
Grape-leaved anemone (Eriocapitella vitifolia) belongs to the buttercup family Ranunculaceae and is the only species of anemone found in the Philippines. It is a small plant that can only grow 1-2 feet tall. It has many stems that grow from its corm, and each stem produces a large white or light purple-pink flower. Typically, the other members of its genus have round foliage, but this species has heart-shaped leaves with multiple lobes, similar to grape foliage, hence its common name. In the wild, it is found in damp open woodlands, scrublands, grasslands, and along stream banks.
18. Paphiopedilum philippinense
The Paphiopedilum philippinense is a type of Venus slipper or orchid with slipper-shaped pouches on the flower. It is relatively small in size, measuring only 8-19 inches tall. It grows on the ground, but it can also be lithophytic (grows on rocky cliffs) or epiphytic (grows on trees).
The leaves are long, thick, leathery, and waxy and are arranged in a single plane to give an impression of a fan. They are either solid or mottled in color. Flowers are showy, with a yellow slipper-shaped pouch called a lip. The lip contains nectars and fragrances that entice pollinating insects. The petals are the two, brown, long, dangling, twisted, and ribbon-like structures. The reason for the bizarre shape of the petal is unknown, but it likely helps flying insects find the flower more easily. The round, lid-like structure on the top of the lip is the sepal of the flower.
19. Easter Lily
Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum) belongs to the family Liliaceae native to Japan, Taiwan, and Northern Philippines. It is a perennial, bulbous herb that can grow up to 1 meter in height. It has a robust, upright, and stable stem that supports large, narrow, and sessile foliage which is arranged in the form of a rosette.
The plant is well-known for its cluster of showy, trumpet-shaped flowers that droop on the top of the plant's main axis. There are six white petals on each flower. They all have long stamens with yellow pollen (anthers) at the tips that contrast with the color of the petals. Removing the pollen will lengthen the flowers’ blooming time because it inhibits pollination.
Rafflesia is a genus parasitic plant in the family Rafflesiaceae. All 28 species are native to Southeast Asia, with the Philippines hosting 13 of them. Members of this genus have no visible leaves, stems, or roots. Their only distinguishing feature is a magnificent, five-petaled, red flower. They produce the largest individual flowers in the world. Depending on the species, the flower can have a diameter of up to three feet. The Rafflesia arnoldii has the largest flower of its kind, which is roughly the size of a bicycle tire. The Rafflesia consueloae, which is endemic to Luzon island, produces the smallest one.
Because of their corpse-like odor, they have earned the nickname "corpse lily." The odor draws flies and beetles, which pollinate the flowers. They do not produce food through photosynthesis but instead obtain nutrients and water from their host, Tetrastigma.
- Plants of the Philippines | Project Noah
- List of the Orchidae of the Philippines | Wikipedia
- List of the Philippine Flora Families | Philippine Plants
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Errah Caunca
Amy on October 26, 2020:
These flowers are very beautiful. I especially liked the Jade vine and the Palawan cherry blossom. Thanks for sharing such an interesting article.
Treathyl FOX from Austin, Texas on October 24, 2020:
Every time I come across an article about the natural wonders of the Phillippines I always learn something new. These flowers are spectacular!
Denise McGill from Fresno CA on October 24, 2020:
The Rose Grape is certainly unique and new to me so I favored it. The Passion Flower vine is found around here in California. People love importing unique flowers and vines. I have seen them but never grew one myself. You have to have just the right place to let it climb and take over. Lovely flowers. Thanks for taking us on a tour of your flowers.