Mar 22, 200603:04 PMThe Life
Desert flora: bougainvillea bracts up my nose
Mar 22, 2006 - 03:04 PMThe bougainvillea is a thorny, woody, flowering vine native to the Amazon rain forests in South America. It's named after Louis Antoine de Bougainville, a French military officer who discovered the plant in Brazil in 1768.
Bougainvilleas are popular here in the desert's warm climate. [Click thumbnail photo to enlarge.] The actual flower of the plant is small and usually white, but each cluster of three flowers is surrounded by three or six leaflike "bracts," which take on the color associated with that particular plant—pink, magenta, purple, red, orange, white or yellow. Another example of a bract is the red or white "flower petal" on your Christmas-season poinsettia.
Bougainvillea bracts separate from the plant on a regular basis, forming either: (1) a brilliantly-colored, dreamlike carpet, or (2) a pain-in-the-butt mess... depending on whether you're the unlucky husband who's been delegated to cleaning them up.