Frangipani, or Plumeria, is a genus of flowering plants in the family which includes Dogbane. They are native to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and South America, and have been spread throughout the world’s tropics. Indian incenses containing Frangipani have “Champa” in their name, for example Nag Champa.

Frangipani flowers are most fragrant at night in order to lure sphinx moths to pollinate them. The flowers have no nectar, and simply dupe their pollinators. The moths inadvertently pollinate them by transferring pollen from flower to flower in their fruitless search for nectar.

They are associated with temples in both Hindu and Buddhist cultures. In local Asian folk beliefs, the plants provide shelter to ghosts. Frangipani are often planted on cemetery grounds Indonesia. Balinese Hindus use the flowers in their temple offerings.

In Hindu mythology there is a saying “The beauty of Champa is compared to Radhika, who is wife of lord Krishna and honey bees are servants of Lord Krishna. This is the reason honey bees don’t sit on the champa flower.”

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