Friday

A Different Kind of Hawaiian Lei Flowers

Definitely in the Rare, Exotic and Unusual category Calotropis gigantea, Crown flower or Giant Milkweed are great additions to any tropical garden! According to the Hawaiian culture it is a symbol of royalty and is made in to stunning leis and worn and adored by the last queen of Hawaii named Queen Liliuokalani.

Calotropis gigantea (Crown flower) is a species of Calotropis native to Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India and China.

The clusters of waxy flowers are white or lavender, and have a little "crown" in the center composed of five downward-pointing, twisted petals that resemble an elegant miniature royal crown. They are produced in bunches among the leaves, which are light green and fuzzy on both sides, growing on succulent milky stems. When fully grown, each small tree or large bush can support hundreds of Monarch butterflies as the adults sip nectar from the flowers and the caterpillars eat the leaves. Don't worry about the caterpillars, as the plant will quickly regrow whatever they eat and more, 
but do protect it from the cold. 
It is not frost-hardy at all and must be planted in a large pot and kept indoors during winter.


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