Grenada's national flower is the Bougainvillea (Nyctaginaceae), a genus of woody climbers. Bougainvilleas are widely-grown and popular tropical vines whose main attractions are very colorful bracts or leaves. These bracts are mistaken by many as the flowers of the plant because of their prominence. The flowers are actually the trumpet-like, small, white and inconspicuous items surrounded by the bracts. Each cluster of three flowers has three to six bracts surrounding them. Best outdoors, the plants can be used as hedges, or can be in pots, hanging from ceiling rafters or in hanging baskets.
The original plants came from South America, in the regions around Brazil, Peru and Argentina. Today they grow in the tropical areas of the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, Taiwan, Africa, the Mediterranean, Mexico, Pakistan, Panama, Australia, Hawaii and the southern United States. The French botanist, Philbert Commerson, discovered the plant and named it after his friend, Captain Louis A. Bougainvillea, an explorer, mathematician and lawyer from Canada.
Bougainvilleas are easy to grow and propagate, especially in areas with warm weather and plenty of sun. They come from the Nyetayinacce family of small trees, vines and shrubs. The vine itself is thorny and woody in most species, the most popular of which is the galabra or "paper flower," so called because of its paper-like bracts. Different species have different colored bracts like red, orange, white, purple, yellow and pink, among a few others. They grow in soil where most other plants do, up to 15 to 25 feet high and 25 to 35 wide.