Poisonous Plants - Plumeria Rubra

Photo of the Frangipani, Alel������, Plumeria rubra

Frangipani (Fr.), Temple Tree (Eng.), Alel Alhel(Sp.), Plumeria rubra (Bot.), Native, Mexico, Certral America.

Photo www.inspirosity.net


Plumerias can grow to be large shrubs or even small trees. In tropical regions, Plumeria may reach a height of 30 to 40 inches (76 to 101 centimeters) and 20 inches (50 centimeters) wide. They have widely spaced thick branches, round or pointed, long leathery, green leaves in clusters near the branch tips. The leaves are oblong, lance-shaped, to 20 inches (50 centimeters). During the early summer through the early fall months Plumeria rubra produces very fragrant clusters of showy, waxy flowers in various shades of rose and pink. All parts of the plumeria are considered toxic and the sap can cause a rash in sensitive people. But the alkaloids in plumerias make the plant extremely bitter and there are no definitive cases of plumeria poisoning.

Poisonous characteristics

All parts of this shrub yield mildly poisonous alkaloids, which can affect those with sensitive skin. DO NOT TOUCH OR EAT flowers or any parts of this shrub as they may cause skin irritation or mild stomach pain and cramping in some people.

When observing this plant

Avoid touching or eating any part of this shrub. If skin reaction is felt, wash affected area with soap and water. If accidentally eaten, induce vomiting and obtain medical assistance promptly.

Where is this plant found in the El Yunque NF?

At the beginning of the El Portal Trail adjacent to the El Portal Rain Forest Center in the El Yunque National Forest’s Recreational Area.

Additional information

Tropical Vegetation Specialist
USDA Forest Service
El Yunque National Forest
HC-01, Box 13490
Rio Grande, PR 00745-9625
787 888 1810

Núñez-Meléndez, E., 1990, Plantas Venenosas de Puerto Rico y las que producen dermatitis, Ed. Universidad de Puerto Rico

Mowbray, A., 2005, El Portal Rain Forest Center Interpretive Site Guide, USDA Forest Service, El Yunque National Forest. Maps on pp 20-21 show locations of poisonous trees/plants/shrubs that may be encountered on the El Portal Trail.

Watson, L. and Dallwitz, M. J. 1992. 1999. The Families of Flowering Plants.