Bougainvillea, Kenya, photo © by Michael Plagens

Photographed on the campus of Chepkoilel University, Eldoret, Kenya. January 2012.

Bougainvillea vines remain highly colorful all year with pleasing dark green leaves and bright pink, lavender, red of orange bracts. Landscape architects and gardeners in tropical and subtropical regions everywhere plant it. The main drawback comes when it comes time to prune it back: the thorns are long and viciously sharp. There are several species native to South America - these and many hybrids have found their way into the nursery trade. The leaves are a favorite material for leaf-cutting bees to use in construction of their tubular nests.

flowers and bracts of Bougainvillea, photo © Michael Plagens Bougainvillea in Kenya, photo © by Michael Plagens

The true flowers are small, tubular and pale colored. Subtending the flowers are the bright colored, modified leaves often referred to as bracts. A carpenter bee is seeking nectar from a pink variety at Kakamega.

Nyctaginaceae -- Four O'clock Family

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created on 21 February 2012,
updated 11 April 2017.