White wallflower (Plumeria alba)

flowers called white Pulmerias attracting a butterfly

We have all seen movie scenes in which flowers are collected from a tree to decorate a woman's hair, as there is a flower that can be ideal to represent this scene, it is the White wallflower or Plumeria alba, a delicate flower that, due to its colors, texture and delicate shapes, may be able to become a simple detail, as well as beautify an entire garden.


White plumeria alba in a flower bouquet

The amancayo, the tree from which this flower comes, it is one of the trees more easily identifiable for its gnarled branches, its flowers and its long and remarkable leaves.

The bark is gray or green and scaly in appearance, while the branches tend to look puffy. The dark green leaves on the upper part and a shade of green below, form a type of raceme at the end of the branches.

According to the species, are trees and shrubs with deciduous or semi-persistent foliage and the branches are fleshy and thick. The simple leaves that alternate forming a spiral, are grouped at the end of the branches and measure 20 to 40 cm in length. As for the shape of the flowers, they are flattened and scented.


Medicinal properties

In Polynesia, the latex of the amancayo is used as wart treatmentIt is also used therapeutically in certain countries, as a purgative in India, using the bark or roots, a remedy against gonorrhea in the Philippines and using the fresh bark.

An antibiotic is extracted from the leaves and bark, the so-called fulvoplumièrine.

Cosmetic properties

It is used to create a perfume with powerful and exotic notes that evoke distant places.

The scent is floral, almond-shaped and slightly vanilla, exotic and hot. The perfumes that contain it are Kenzo, Love by Kenzo, Versace woman by Versace, Liquid Karl by Lagerfeld, Ck one summer by Calvin.


The tree from which Alhelí blanco comes is called amancayo; a tree relatively small at about 5-6m tall, but what they lack in height, they make up for by often becoming wider than tall.

They have a light and non-aggressive root system, which it is ideal for a garden and for growing in a pot. The amancayos are very resistant to long droughts, heat, neglect, as well as insects and pest attacks. They are also expired (they lose leaves part of the year)

With its branches that look like knots between them and its flowers and its long and remarkable leaves, the amancayo is a tree that does not go unnoticed. The bark is gray or green and scaly in appearance. The leaves fall in winter leaving small semicircular marks on the Cortex. A cup made on any part of the tree exudes a sticky, milky sap that is inedible to humans or animals.

The amancayo flowers appear in clusters, also at the end of the branches and they are typically scented. The petals are waxy, white, yellow, red, pink, and purple. For example, the most common amancayo has white flowers (the white wallflower) with a yellow center commonly called Celadine or White Star.

The flowers appear after a dry period, and generally during the first weeks of the warm season. The tree this flower comes from It is considered a symbol of immortalityas its leaves and flowers are said to continue to grow even after being cut.

The white wallflower is a fetish flower that can be found in cemeteries, because it was said to have privileged ties with spirits. Something very curious is that there is a movie that mentions the magical benefits of this flowerThis is "Ghost Whisperer" where a story appears between the sphinxes, the butterfly and the white wallflower.


There are seven or eight species, among which are:

  • White Plumeria: white amancayo with deciduous leaves and white yellow-eyed flowers. Plumeria rubra: Red amancayo with deciduous leaves and pink, yellow, bronze or red to yellow-eye flowers.
  • Plumeria acuminata: It consists of white flowers with a yellow center and highly perfumed.

In Malay folklore, this plant is associated with vampires, because it is believed to be an immortal tree and is even present in Hindu and Buddhist culture.

In certain popular beliefs, the amancayo offers refuge to ghosts and demons. In Thailand it is known as champa khawm, while in Malaysia and Indonesia, Cambodia and Bangladesh, its flowers are a symbol of death and funerals.

In Bali, its flowers adorn the tiaras of the dancers, since in the Pacific islands, the white wallflower can replace the Tiaré flowers in the lei (flower crown). Polynesians use them as the tiare flower and according to the position of the flower (over the ear to the right or left) it is known whether they are free or not.

The Plumeria alba the national symbol of Laos, a people who have fought for their independence and it even has the colors of the different flowers on its flag; the red that symbolizes the struggle for independence, the blue that represents the Mekong; river that crosses the country and that brings prosperity and finally, the white circle that represents the capital of Laos.


flowers called Plumeria alba that are white in color

The Plumeria alba tree is planted in a mixture of mulch, fine sand and loamIf possible, it should be located in a container, otherwise it should be planted in well-drained and fairly rich soil. You need a lot of light.

It is said that the Plumería alba has a strong symbolism between the Indians and Buddhists, hence the name of the flower of the temples and is native to tropical and subtropical America, and is currently found in all warm countries.

It does not tolerate the cold well. The ideal temperature should be at least 18ºC. In Europe it is grown between May and September when temperatures begin to be summer.

Diseases and pests

Red spiders and mealybugs They are the enemies of this flower, but excessive watering can also make it black, so it is important to be careful with the amount of water it receives.

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  1.   mary said

    hello a cordial greeting, I have a branch of white amancayo (second photo of the article) how can I plant it, thank you very much.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Mary.
      You can plant it in a pot with peat (or better vermiculite), impregnating the base with homemade rooting agents. Then, water and place it outside, in semi-shade.
      If all goes well, it will root in 20 days or so.