Bougainvillea is a genus of thorny ornamental vines or bushes with flower-like spring leaves near its flowers. The Chinese names are 簕杜鵑, 九重葛, 三角梅, 紙花, etc. They are native plants of South America in Brazil, Peru and Argentina.
The vine species grow anywhere from 1 to 10 m tall, scrambling over other plants with their spiky thorns. The thorns are tipped with a black, waxy substance. They are evergreen where rainfall occurs all year, or deciduous if there is a dry season. The leaves are alternate, simple ovate-acuminate. The actual flower of the plant is small and generally white, but each cluster of three flowers is surrounded by three or six bracts (modified leaves) with the bright colours associated with the plant, including pink, magenta, purple, red, orange, white, or yellow.
Bougainvillea is sometimes referred to as ‘paper flower’ because the bracts are thin and papery. The fruit is a narrow five-lobed achene.
Many of today’s bougainvillea are the result of interbreeding among only three out of the eighteen South American species recognized by botanists. Currently, there are over 300 varieties of bougainvillea around the world. Because many of the hybrids have been crossed over several generations, it is difficult to identify their respective origins.
The sap of the Bougainvillea can cause serious skin rashes.
Paintings of Bougainvillea
I can hardly find any ancient Chinese paintings on Bougainvillea. Fāng Guóxìng (方國興) in Shēnzhèn (深圳), China likes drawing Bougainvillea. He draws the flowers on rice paper and on porcelain. He is inspiring.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWDZ2ds6u7M 公屋變花海 紅葉簕杜鵑掩花廊
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHa1vX62Xvk (very beautiful, highly recommended)