Exotic temperatures call for exotic flowers, don’t you think? Therefore, we have transported ourselves (virtually) to a tropical destination and made a selection of our top 9 favourite exotic flowers. Sit back, grab a cocktail and picture yourself on a white sandy beach for the complete experience.
1 Birds of Paradise
We kick off this list of exotic flowers with perhaps one of the most tropical blooms: the Strelitzia, better known as Birds of Paradise or the Crane Flower. The flower has its origins in South Africa and is even featured on their 50 cent coin. The combination of the bright orange petals and the blue petals make the flower look like a tropical bird in flight. Truly a spectacular sight.
The Heliconia’s common name is Lobster Claw Plant, and we can totally see why. The large and bright bracts come in different shades of red, pink, orange, yellow and green. In addition, these bracts are actually hiding tiny flowers – you might see a few peeking out of the upper bracts. Besides its good looks, the Heliconia is also loved by the animal kingdom. It attracts insect pollinators and is also used as a food source for hummingbirds.
Next on our list is the Lotus, a true survivor whose origin dates back to 145.5 million years ago. This exotic flower is heavily associated with Eastern cultures and is the most sacred flower in Hinduism and Buddhism. The Lotus adapts easily to any climate and can endure the burning sun and the icy cold, although it prefers wetlands and the mud.
The Plumeria is another flower that cannot be missed in this list of exotic flowers. Having its roots in Central and South America, Mexico and the Caribbean, the Frangipani loves a warm climate. Did you know that the Plumeria is often used in making traditional Hawaiian leis because of its lovely scent and colours?
From one Hawaiian flower to another, the Hibiscus is Hawaii’s national plant. The Hibiscus is actually native to temperate regions in China, which isn’t that tropical. It got its exotic reputation partly due to French painter Paul Gauguin who featured several Hibiscus flowers in the paintings that he made in Tahiti. Although the Hibiscus’ bright colours might have helped build that tropical image as well.
6 King Protea
South Africa’s national flower, the King Protea (Protea cynaroides) lends its name to its crown-like appearance. It is the largest of all Protea varieties. For example, the artichoke-like flower heads can grow up to 12 inches (30cm). The King Protea is no ordinary flower, the large and pointy bracts surround a collection of tepaled inner flowers in the centre. As a result, the King Protea is often used as the focal flower in wedding bouquets.
The Anthurium originates from the tropical rain forests of Guatemala and Colombia and the Amazon in Brazil. With a life span of up to 21 days, the Anthurium definitely leaves a lasting impression. The large heart-shaped flower – also known as the flamingo flower – often gives the impression of being made of plastic or wax.
Often mistaken for a Rose, the Gardenia is native to tropical and subtropical regions like Asia, Africa and Oceania. Not only are its creamy-white petals a feast for the eyes, but its lovely scent is also another treat for your senses.
We are ending our list with another fragrant tropical beauty. The Jasmine plant produces beautiful tiny star-shaped flowers in colours like white, yellow and sometimes red and pink. It is said that the Jasmine is native to the Himalayas and thrives in tropical, warm or temperate regions.