Did you know that these flowers & plants are native to Malaysia?
It's a well-known fact that Malaysia is a country with diversity in a range of aspects like our culture, people, food, art, attractions, language and so many more. You can ask any Malaysian about any of these and we’d tell you how much we take pride in our colourful country and all that it has to offer.
Though we each share a similar set of Malaysian general knowledge that we could probably talk to others about, many may not be aware that we are actually blessed with a wide range of flowers and popular plants that are indigenous to us, too!
As a matter of fact, did you know that Malaysia is home to one of the largest flora biodiversities in the world?
On that note, here are some plants & flowers that you might not have realised are grown locally on our soil:
Orchids are actually one of the largest flowering plant families with more than 25,000 species worldwide. And a segment of that number stems from Malaysia alone as our land breeds over 3,000 species of those beauties.
To break it down further, around 1,000 are found in Peninsular Malaysia while a significant amount of 2,500 types of orchids grow in Sabah and Sarawak.
The vanilla orchid, which is represented by 12 species in Malaysia is another huge economic potential commodity species with at least three species that could produce vanilla essence.
Yes, vanilla! The second most expensive spice in the world (after saffron) also comes from vanilla orchids, which can be grown in Malaysia.
In terms of domestic use, Malaysian orchids are usually favoured and widely used for gifting purposes.
Looking for an orchid plant or bouquet?
How about a breathtaking millennial pink arrangement? Annabeth makes it easy to say congratulations with a designer bouquet of orchids and lilies.
Or mesmerise your guests with a beautiful ornamental plant like our Jodie Phalaenopsis Orchid. It’s also available in 2, 3 & 5 stalk versions!
Now, this is one native flower that you might know too well! The ixora, also known as “Jejarum” in Bahasa Malaysia, is a flowering garden shrub that is visible all around us.
Directly translating to “Needle Flower”, you may have had the experience of pulling out the needle-shaped bud of this flower and sucking on its nectar as a child, remember? Or even stringing them together to form a necklace or bracelet!
This vibrant bush often grows in areas that have a lot of sunlight - typically in residential vicinities or public gardens.
They are an all-year bloomer and come in an assortment of colours like red, pink and orange. But of course, the bright reds are the common ones that we see in our neighbour’s front yard all the time!
Also another flower that is planted all around us, the bougainvillea plant is a flowering evergreen that allows you to get creative as it can be planted in many ways. They are usually used as ornamental or bonsai plants in containers.
Other common usages also include ornamental vines, shrubs and hedges to decorate and brighten pergolas, patio, decks and balconies. You’d surely be able to spot them at resorts, residential buildings and hospitals.
It is easy to see why this tropical beauty is a favourite among Malaysians! After all, how can you ignore such a beautiful plant with cascading stems and flowers that also bloom in a medley of bright colours?
Did you know that the pagoda flower is rated as among the most beautiful native flowers in Malaysia? They are best identified through their myriad of red, orange and white blossoms sprouting from the stem.
Belonging to the species of Clerodendrum paniculatum, the more commonly known identity - pagoda also goes by the name “Panggil-Panggil” in Malay. This means ‘to summon’ and it fittingly comes with the story of trappers using these plants when trying to ‘summon’ and lure mouse deers.
Some Malaysians and Indonesians believe that pagodas have supernatural powers due to their namesake, as well. There is a belief that they can be used to summon spirits. Yikes!
On the other hand, their usage also includes being sprinkled on ‘sacred water’ at traditional Malay weddings and blessing ceremonies.
5) Yellow Allamanda
Though allamandas are originally native to South and Central America, they have become naturalised throughout the tropical regions of the world, including Malaysia over time.
They are usually planted as shrubs, vines or as ornamental house plants here with bright and large flowers that bloom all year round.
Belonging to the Apocynaceae family, it also carries the name Yellow Bell, Golden Trumpet or Buttercup Flowers.
On a more local front, the yellow allamanda is known as ‘Akar Kuning’ or ‘Akar Cempaka Hutan’ in Bahasa.
Meanwhile, its Chinese name is ‘ruan zhi huang chan’ which directly translates to soft-stemmed yellow cicada, because the shape and colour of the unbloomed flower bug resemble newly-emerged cicadas. How cute!
Ah, the common pothos! Also known as money plant, devil's ivy, golden pothos, its scientific name is Epipremnum Aureum. A super easy to care plant and an uber favourite among houseplant owners.
You’ll often find it used as an ornamental foliage plant in most commercial lots or shopping malls due to easy it is to maintain. However, if you look closely, you’ll also spot them growing wild on trees and even walls all across Malaysia! Their leaves tend to get MUCH bigger when growing in the wild - up to 3 feet long!
With a native plant as pretty and easy to take care of this, it’s no wonder it’s become a much-loved candidate in the houseplant community, especially for beginners. P.S This was MY first plant too!
Been wanting to get into houseplants?
Our Pothos plant is the perfect place to start! Perfectly sized for your bathroom or tabletop and filled with lots of leaves(& nodes) for you to start propagating. Just chop & prop~
7) Palm Tree
Another common sight all around Malaysia, you’ll often find many different palms growing by the side of the road or in residential communities as tall ornamental bushes. Not including our national Oil Palm trees, of course!
In fact, Malaysia is actually a very palm-rich country – meaning it has one of the highest diversity of palm species in the world. Of the known 2,600 palm species, a whopping 443 of them can be found here in Malaysia.
Some of the more common household palms that are native to Malaysia are Java Palm, Areca Palm, Red Sealing Wax Palm and the more stunning Mangrove Fan Palm(or Pokok Palas Duri in Bahasa).
Want to get your hands on a palm?
Try our Palm Leaf plant! You may not be on holiday, but with enough of these tropical palm leaves, you can pretend you're sipping margaritas on the beach.
8) Crispy Wave Fern
Here’s another famous houseplant that’s also native to our national backyard. It’s also known as the Bird’s Nest Fern due to the way the leaves radiate outward, creating a nest-like shape in the centre.
With its long outstretched leaves, it is a true tropical delight, a proclaimed air-purifier and (surprisingly) an effective epiphyte - meaning it’s really good at living on trees!
So, while you’ve got your eyes peeled for the wild giant Pothos, watch out for giant Bird’s Nest Ferns comfortably nestled on branches of trees. Perhaps another reason it earned its ‘Bird’s Nest’ title.
Even still, they’re also plenty happy being planted in pots and kept indoors. Their sizes can range from tiny little fern to a giant 5-foot-wide beauty!
Want to grow one of your own?
The Crispy Wave Fern is perfect with its compact size, leaving enough room to work on your table. With proper care, this fast grower will get large in no time!
Begonias are some of the coolest looking plants you’ll ever see, with its asymmetric leaves and tendency to have interesting(& almost alien-like) patterns on its leaves that are unlike any other groups of plants. Their leaf patterns can range from bright spots to spirals and even cross-shaped patterns.
Today, there are over 10,000 kinds of hybrids and cultivars available. And while the hybrids are indeed popular, many people would be surprised to find out that there are wild begonias growing abundantly in Malaysian forests.
In the wild, they can often be found in dense underbushes and shaded forest floors with bright by no direct sunlight. In the homes, you’ll often find them front and centre where everyone can see due to their attractive leaves and flowers that bloom all year long!
Got other local flowers in mind that you’d like to share? Just comment below what you’d like to know more about.