Flowers of the Eastern Cape:no 4 Frangipani (Plumeria)
Of Ghosts and Vampires
While not endemic to the Eastern Cape the flowering shrub/tree with its pretty flowers is found in gardens and parks in the area. A native of Central and South America it is found today in most tropical and subtropical areas including the Caribbean, the Philippines and Malaysia.
In some cultures it is considered to have links with Vampires and is also said to provide shelter for Ghosts and Demons. It is often grown in cemeteries and in Buddhist and Hindu cultures it is found in temple areas.
The flowers give off a pleasant scent, especially at night, and this attracts moths that pollinate the flowers. The moths search in vain for the nectar that they normally feed on because the flowers have none.
In the modern Polynesian culture the women wear these flowers to show their matrimonial status. Worn on the right ear indicates that they are looking for a relationship while if worn on the left ear it indicates that they are taken.
In our garden hopefully is keeps the Ghosts out of the house and if Audrey wears one on her ear I am certain it will be on her left ear.