Count Your Blessings!

With love and passion, everyone can have a nice garden...Elaine Yim

Count Your Blessings!
Count The Garden By The Flowers, Never By The Leaves That Fall.
Count Your Life With Smiles And Not The Tears That Roll.
..... Author unknown.

Knowing me, Knowing you..... Aha.....!

Notice Board

Malaysian Flora USDA Zone 11
Welcome to our exotic world of everlasting summers and tropical rainforests!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Mussaenda philippica 'Queen Sirikit'

Today I am going to talk about a flower of mixed parentage that has a glamorous and grand, royal name. She is the Miss Universe of Planet Mussaenda. During the winter seasons in temperate zones, you have poinsettias. Here, in Malaysia, we have the evergreen mussaendas that bloom the whole year through. However, poinsettias and mussaendas are under different family classifications.

Tada! My flower for today:

Scientific name: Mussaenda philippica 'Queen Sirikit'
Family: Rubiaceae
Common name: Queen Sirikit mussaenda or peach mussaenda
Origin: Tropical Africa and Philippines
Our local name in malay: bunga janda kaya merah muda (pink wealthy widow)

My post today is dedicated to my blogger friend from Southern California, USA, Ms Mary Delle of Secret Cottage Garden for being the first commenter of my previous post, Yellow Mussaenda Flava. Incidentally, her latest post is about my favourite flower, the night blooming cereus. It is interesting how we gardeners are connected with each other.

According to the University of Connecticut's webpage here dated 20 Nov 2009, Mussaenda philippica Queen Sirikit is a hybrid plant from work done in the Plant Science Department at Univeristy of Connecticut. 'Queen Sirikit' resulted from the backcross of the F1 hybrid, M. erythrophylla x M. philippica 'Doña Aurora', to M. philippica 'Doña Aurora'.

In layman terms, I would interpret that Mussaenda philippica Queen Sirikit (MPQS) was the love child from the following process of marriage:

Mussaenda erythrophylla (Africa) & Mussaenda phillippica (Philippines) married to produce F1 hybrid.

FI hybrid married a descendent of Mussaenda philippica to produce 'MPQS'.

Am I right? How very romantic! Peace to the world.

Mussaenda erythrophylla - Ashanti blood is a native of Africa. It has white flowers and red sepals. It looks similar to poinsettia.

Mussaenda philippica - Kahoi dalaga is a native of the Philippines. It has orange-yellow flowers and white sepals.

(Click on the links above to view the pictures from John & Jacq's Garden).

The leaves have clearly defined veins and there are hairs on both surfaces. The dimensions of the mature leaves are about 21 cm by 8 cm.

Flowers come in terminal clusters. Each small (¾ inch diameter) flower has a yellow corolla and 5 sepals which are often enlarged. These enlarged sepals are usually mistaken to be bracts. Usually sepals are green but sepals of the mussaendas can be white, pink, salmon, peach or red. The sepals of Mussaenda philippica 'Queen Sirikit' are peach in colour.

According to Michael Ferrero, a commenter on website, Mussaenda philippica 'Queen Sirikit' was named after the current Queen of Thailand to commemorate her first visit to the Philipines in the 1970's. This is the only mussaenda ever to be given a name of a person not of Filipino extraction.

The blooms lasts for extended periods. Prunning is recommended to remove dead flowers and to encourage flowering. Mussaendas trive well in our hot, sunny and humid equatorial climate with adequate rainfall. They prefer moist, well drain soil and full sun but can tolerate some shade. Mussaendas will not grow well in arid conditions. The flowers attract bees, butterflies and birds.

I have now posted 2 less common mussaendas, the Mussaenda flava which is a dwarf or smaller shrub of 3-5 ft height . Today's 'Queen Sirikit' can reach 5-10 ft.

Generally, mussaendas are classified under the Rubiaceae family and they are sometimes referred to as "Bangkok rose". These evergreen perrenial shrubs have showy blooms, the colours of which may be white, pink, salmon or red depending on the species. In Malaysia, mussaendas are grown by our municipal councils along road dividers, road shoulders and in many landscaped gardens of government departments.

In temperate zones, some gardening experts recommend planting poinsettias with mussaendas. This is because mussaendas drop their leaves and become dormant during winter while poinsettias bloom best during the cold months. Hence, they complement each other.


1. The photographs were taken at The Secret Garden of 1-Utama - my ever grateful thanks to Dr. Francis Ng for his hard work on many species of rare plants

2. The facts are obtained from:
(i) Top - origin of the name
(ii) The Plant Science Department of The University of Connecticut publication - origin of the plant
(iii) Blotanist Jacqueline of John & Jacq's Garden - images of Mussaenda philippica and Mussaenda erythophylla
(iv) Book titled 'Tropical Shrubs' by Horace F. Clay, James C. Hubbard and Rick Golt - details about origin of names, plant description and propagation methods.

This is my entry for Blooming Friday, 1st Week of December. The theme this week is 'The Scent of Christmas'. Mussaendas looks like poinsettias. Maybe this is our equatorial version of Christmas flowers. My grateful thanks to Katarina at Roses and Stuff for hosting Blooming Friday. To see what others have posted or to participate, click here.

This is also my entry for Fertilizer Friday. My grateful thanks to Tootsie at Tootsie Time for hosting Fertilizer Friday. To see what others have posted or to participate, visit

This is also my entry for Today's Flowers #69. My grateful thanks to the TF folks:
Santilli, Denise, Pupo and Valkyrien for hosting Today's Flowers. To participate or view other floral displays around the world, click here.


  1. Beautiful presentation! These are not familiar to me, but if we can grow poinsettias, why not the Mussaendas as well?

  2. I think I like this better than a pointsettia actually. There is something so delicate and shy about the flowers and leaves that the poinsettia lacks in it's boldness. I agree with Nell Jean, this was a wonderful presentation.

  3. Hi,
    You have the most stunning blooms for blooming friday. And fertilizer friday as well. Always a pleausure to see what you put together here, Autumn Belle!

  4. These are so soft and silky looking. They are like satin, smooth and beautiful

  5. Autumn I absolutely love that Queen Sirikit. It does remind you of a poinsettia. The soft pink is so pretty.

  6. What a gorgeous plant. I had fun trying to pronouce the name in malay.

  7. I feel this is the most beautiful of all the Mussaendas. The softest of peach...just lovely! Great post, Autumn Belle.

  8. yap a lovely post and informative as well. sadly we do not grow Mussaendas here. lovely blooms. And i am sure it will adapt well to my semitropical climate.

  9. Wonderful. sensaitionel and lovely. Lucky you, here only frosted flowers grow at this time of the year. Have a nice weekend.

  10. When I was young boy, I thought apples came from these. That was because the flower bud look so much like the back of the apple fruit. Then again, I thought this one must be appleblossom and often pluck and play with these flowers as they are grown along streetside.

    well those were the days, rarely find them now as they are not so common anymore.

  11. Great info and fabulous pictures with a touch of romance! Well done, Autumn Belle and thanks for sharing! Mighty kind of you to link to my posts - thank you very much for support.

  12. This Mussaenda is an 'evergreen' plant. A timeless beauty! Glad to know that The Secret Garden has this plant there :-D

  13. Hm, the only thing evergreen in my garden must be the Christmas tree ;) Love your photoes and the pink colour of your bush :) Have a lovely weekend now.

  14. Such a soft looking flower, just gorgeous!! Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge

  15. Wow, I love these blooms and I've never seen them before...great post

  16. Very interesting, kind of reminds me of the Chinese Flame Tree.

  17. How lucky you are to have that beautiful flower and for it to bloom all year long is just a big bonus! A very informative post.

  18. The flower has a lovely name and suits her too. I like the way the flowers hang in soft clusters - very pretty.
    Enjoy your weekend.

  19. Such a beautiful post. Thank you for putting my name in the post. I'm glad to be back watching your posts. The plants are always so unusual.

  20. I immediaely fell in love with this beautiful shrub, when I looked at your pictures. Such a beauty! Thanks for participating and have a great weekend!

  21. this is a new one for me!!! I have never had any luck with poinsettia...but I do love them...your post today was very interesting, and the photos delightful!!!
    I have not been around so much lately...and hope to have more time to play with my garden buddies soon!!!
    thanks for playing today! have a great weekend

  22. This is a beautiful beautiful flower!!! I love the first photo. THe colors on each petal and the shape of both flower and shrub are just gorgeous. I love it. It really appeals to me. Thanks for all the great information too.

  23. Autumn Belle, you did it again...never heard of this plant but I love it! I DID instantly thought of our poinsettia at first sight. Thank you for all the beautifil pictures and info you share!

  24. I particularly love the pink! So gorgeous.

  25. Sorry, i forgot to put the best link for the Mussaenda; their origin, the hybrids, images, the right information as some links i found have some incorrect information as the parents of some hybrids.

    or for the direct link:

  26. Hi, everyone. Thank you very much for your nice comments. I appreciate it very much. My special thanks to Andrea from the Philippines for the valuable link.

  27. Sorry I am a little late commenting but just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed this post. Your photos are lovely and I feel I have learned something today. Thanks for shring.

  28. Today, I have lernt something new. Beautiful plant. Thanks.

  29. I saw one of these "Queen Sirikit" plants at Butterfly World in Coconut Creek FL today and fell in love - which led me to your site after doing a search. Any clue where I can get one? I e-mailed Butterfly World but haven't heard back. Thanks!

  30. If you live in Florida, the best way is to get it from your local nursery operator or google for mail order plant suppliers e.g. Top Tropicals or Daves Garden. Import of plants from other countries are subjected to quarantine and other restrictions.


Words are like the voice of the heart... Confucius

Note: If you are unable to comment on my latest post, click on the post title to reopen the post and try writing your comments again. Comments under "Anonymous" will be automatically treated as spam if no name is included.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin