The roundabout at the visitors’ centre in Yeppoon has had customers asking about the beautiful white flowering trees which are Plumeria pudica, or Hammerhead Frangipani, as the shape of the leaf suggests. How lovely it is that we are seeing more green-life being planted in public spaces.
This tropical plant grows to around 4M high with upright growth that doesn’t get too wide making it suitable for use as a screening plant where there is limited space. It is also very worthy of being used as a feature plant and will be happy in a pot or in the ground.
The Plumeria pudica is the same family as the popular Frangipani types which drop their leaves in the winter time but far less well known and a more recent introduction to Australia. Whilst the pudica lacks the perfume of the common Frangipani it makes up for it with its flowering season which is reported to be the longest amongst frangipanis, and the fact that it is evergreen. The showy white flowers are a standout for use in flower arrangements or bouquets. The spoon-leaved frangipani requires shelter from the wind and likes a full sun position, good drainage, and moderate water. It will benefit from a prune to encourage branching.
The common deciduous frangipani with the exquisite scent is Plumeria rubra, available in many colours; and the more rounded spoon shaped leaf evergreen frangipani is Plumeria obtusa, or Singapore White, which has scented white flowers with a yellow/orange centre. There are many other varieties and colours but these are probably the most commonly found examples in Australia.