The climbing plant, assimilated to a vine, hides formidable thorns.
It grows in Portugal with ease as it does in all the countries around the Mediterranean.
The most common variety is called spectabilis, which is not surprising. This species contains pinitol, a compound with anti-diabetic properties.
White, red, purple, yellow… bracts bloom from spring to autumn. They protect a tiny flower, without much interest. This is one of the original features of this wonderful plant. And the beauty of the bougainvillea bracts earns them the nickname flor-de-papel, a paper flower among our Portuguese-speaking friends.
It is said that it was a woman, Jeanne Barret, botanist, who described the plant first. Under the name of Jean, she travelled incognito aboard Louis-Antoine de Bougainville’s ships.
The mystery remains…
To learn more about Bougainvillier and other discoverers, lisbon-affinités recommends reading “La fabuleuse odyssée des plantes” by Lucile Alorge and Olivier Ikor, published by Editions Jean-clade Lattès.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator