Place of origin: Mexico, Central America, Colombia and Venezuela, Tropics. Naturalised to India.
Description: Grows as a spreading shrub or small tree to a height of 2–8 m. Trunk is thick and succulent with sausage-like blunt branches which ooze a white sap when broken. Leaves are large, green and clustered at the branch end. Flowers are 5-petalled, appear at the ends of branches and flowering lasts up to 3 months. They are prominent and carry fragrance. Flower colors range from the common pink to white with shades of yellow in the centre to double-colors in hybrids. Branches when broken, ooze a white latex that can irritate skin, eyes and mucous membranes.
Grow best: Fast growing and easy to maintain. Tolerate a wide variety of soils, from acid to alkaline and sandy to clay. Readily propagated by cuttings of branches taken in cooler months and left to dry for a week or more before planting.
Use: Can be maintained in containers. Ideals for gardens, street and park planting. Notably planted in temples and cemeteries. Flowers are made into garlands in Hawaii. Leaves are used in the care of sores and made into soothing infusions. Flowers and bark are used in traditional Chinese medicine(TCM).