The frangipani is a peculiar plant, despite its popularity. Much of the year, this smallish spindly tree looks anything but lovely. Devoid of leaves, it kind of just sits in your lawn doing nothing at all, more dead-seeming than alive. But it's not dead. It's amazing.
That's the surprising appeal of the frangipani. About this time of spring each year, it explodes to life. First, the green leaves followed soon after by the flowers, those small white and yellow blossoms tinged in a delicate pink. They're gorgeous. And as you stop to admire the blooms, you begin to notice the scent too. Sweet and powerful as a stick of incense, the trees give off a delightful aroma that draws you toward it. If I pass a nearby frangipani tree when out for a walk, I usually can't resist pausing to sniff a flower or two. I carefully pull a branch down toward my nose and inhale directly from the blossom, literally stopping to smell the flowers. I highly recommend it. Because these remarkable trees don't stay remarkable-looking and remarkable-smelling for long. I've read online information about frangipani that says the flowers last all summer but that's not my experience. They always seem to be around for a month or so in South Florida, a relatively brief moment before the leaves fall and the blossoms disappear and the bare branches sit doing nothing again. Other trees and bushes bloom at various times throughout the year in South Florida, of course, turning our landscape into a perpetual tropical garden. The name, "Florida," actually comes from the Spanish word for flowers. But somehow, the frangipani stands out for me. Every spring it's a reminder, proving how patience pays and how concealed real beauty often can be. I think the frangipani is like many things in life - something special is there, hidden within. To find it, all you really have to do is wait.