plumeria flower meaning

Plumeria Flower Meaning and Symbolism

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When you see a plumeria flower, what comes to mind?

For most people, images of the tropical shores of Hawaii flood their vision. After all, these flowers seem to grow everywhere on the Haiwaain islands! 

You might be surprised to hear that the plumeria is a flower that’s not native to Hawaii at all. In fact, it was introduced there by a German botanist in the mid-1800s. 

However, plumeria flowers thrive in tropical soil and bloom in summer, and there are many varieties of the plumeria flower for you to enjoy. Did you know that this flower also has some pretty powerful symbolism?

Here are the basics. 

What Does Plumeria Mean?

The scientific name for plumeria, frangipani, has a colorful history – just as colorful as this elegant flower, in fact! It was named after an Italian nobleman who produced scented gloves in the 1500s. The fragrance of the flower was similar to that of the scent used in the gloves.

This origin is disputed by some, however, who claim that the name was actually derived from the French word frangipanier, which means coagulated milk. This meaning is connected to how plumeria milk looks much like coagulated milk.

The common name’s origins are less murky. The plumeria flower got its name from the French botanist, Charles Plumier, who first described this tropical flower in the 1600s.

What Do Plumerias Symbolize?

Plumeria flowers, often used in Hawaiian leis and in the hair of Hawaiian women to indicate their marital status, have deep symbolic meaning. They can mean a number of things depending on the setting and color, too.

For example, a plumeria flower can symbolize new life and new beginnings. It can also represent birth and creation. Plumerias can symbolize springtime, charm, beauty, and grace, too. 

There are many colors of plumeria flowers, including yellow, red, pink, and sunset shades. You’ll even find plumerias in white! However, the meaning is more or less the same regardless of the flower color. 

What is the Cultural Significance of a Plumeria?

In Hawaiin culture, plumerias are used to symbolize positivity. They are frequently used to celebrate special occasions and, when worn in the hair, are used to symbolize the marital status of the person who is wearing it. 

If a woman wears a plumeria over the right ear, she is available – while a plumeria flower over the left ear means that she is taken.

In Hindu culture, plumerias represent devotion and dedication to the faith. However, in Buddhism, plumerias tend to represent immortality. This is probably because the plant that produces plumeria flower blooms even after it has been uprooted. 

There are other cultures that value the plumeria flower, too. According to Mexican tradition, plumeria flowers gave birth to the gods. For Mayans, plumerias were seen as representations of life and of birth. 

What is the Symbolism of a Plumeria Tattoo?

There are many reasons to get a plumeria tattoo. Not only can this artwork represent love, dedication, and devotion, but it can also be used to symbolize creation and beauty.

The flower is often used to symbolize Hawaii, so you may choose to get this kind of tattoo if you have some kind of a connection to the island. 

When Should You Give Someone a Plumeria?

Grown on plumeria trees, plumeria flowers aren’t commonly given as cut flowers. They do have many medicinal properties. For example, the Vietnamese use the plumeria to treat skin inflammation, high blood pressure, and cough. 

If you do choose to give someone a plumeria flower, you will be sending a message that they aren’t likely to forget. Giving someone a plumeria flower is a great way to show that you care, regardless of the occasion. In fact, these beautiful and versatile flowers can be given at just about any time.

*Photo by kennymax/depositphotos

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