Saturday, September 10, 2011

Plumeria



Pronunciation: plu-MAYR-ee-uh, pluum-AIR-ee-ah, plu-MARE-ee-ah (essentially the same)

Potential nicknames: Plu, Plum, Mer, Ria, Meri/Mary, Meria

Origin: Plumeria was originally spelled Plumiera in honor of the 17th century botanist Charles Plumier, who discovered the flower. It is a genus of flowering plants native to such tropical locations as Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. Plumier's surname comes from the French word plume, meaning "feather," and Plumier was an occupational surname describing one who sold feathers or plumes. The common name is Frangipani, which comes from a 16th century Italian marquess, who invented a plumeria-scented perfume. Plumeria is related to the Oleander. Like jasmine, plumeria is most fragrant at night. This is in order to attract the sphinx moth, and while the flower doesn't produce nectar, it needs the moth to pollinate it. It is probably because of its similarity to jasmine that the plumeria flower is called yasmin in Persian.

Popularity: Even until 2016 there were no babies born with this name, and it remains an extremely rare baby name in general. However, there were 5 girls named Plum in 2011.

Fun fact: (1) In Hawaii, the girl's name Melia (pronunciation: MAY-lee-uh) means plumeria. The name for plumeria in Sri Lanka, araliya, is also very pretty, and so is what they call it in French Polynesia (tipanie) and the Cook Islands (tipani). (2) In parts of Asia, superstition holds that plumeria provides shelter for ghosts and demons. (3) In Polynesia, women wear plumeria to show their relationship status. (4) One variety, plumeria rubra, is the national flower of Nicaragua, and plumeria alba the national flower of Laos. (5) You may recognize the incense Nag Champa - this has plumeria in it. Champa is also the word for plumeria in Laos. (6) In Sri Lanka, plumeria is associated with worship and is something worthy of the gods.


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