6 Rare Flowers You Can Find in the Philippines

Ample rain and a tropical climate are some factors that allow several kinds of flowers to grow in the Philippines. The country’s wide range of flora does include Valentine’s Day favorites and attractive ornamental blooms, but some of the rarest flowers in the world can be found in the Philippines as well. From giant orchids to favorites of Belgian royalty, here are 6 rare flowers you can find on home soil.


6 Rare Flowers of the Philippines

#1. Jade Vine/Tayabak

Strongylodon macrobotrys

One look at the flowers of the jade vine and you’ll have an idea of how rare this plant is. The vine’s claw shaped flowers are a vibrant aquamarine color, unique even among exotic plants. These flowers grow from a woody vine that is strong enough to climb.

It can be grown in greenhouses in colder countries, but the jade vine is endemic to the Philippines in particular. The plant is also considered endangered, as the birds and bats that pollinate it have decreased in number.

#2. Sacred Garlic Pear/Salingbobog

Crateva religiosa

The white or yellow flowers of the Sacred Garlic Pear usually measure over 10 cm in diameter. A blossom of that size is eye-catching enough, but each of these showy blooms also has over 20 thin stamens that curve as they extend past the petals. This also lends the Sacred Garlic Pear an alternative name: the Spider Tree.

You might wonder how such a lovely flower earned the word “garlic” in its name to begin with, however. Simply taste one of its berries and you’ll get its answer. The Sacred Garlic Pear’s fruits can be used as a spice or even as herbal medicine.

#3. Corpse Lily/Kolon Busaw

Rafflesia sp.

The giant red flowers of the Rafflesia genus can measure up to 39 inches in diameter. Because these plants are parasites, they grow out of the vines of Tetrastigma plants and lack their own true roots, stems or leaves. They’re also (in)famous for their odor!

Two species of the Rafflesia plant are found in the Philippines: the Rafflesia schadenbergiana and the Rafflesia manillana. R. manillana is on the smaller end of the scale, measuring up to 20 cm across. Meanwhile, R. schadenbergiana can grow up to 80 cm in diameter and is native to Mindanao.

#4. Lady’s Slipper Orchid

Paphiopedilum sp.

These flowers get their name from the curious shape of their bottom petal, which curves into a pouch. The “slipper” is a clever pollination trick–insects fall into the pouch and are forced to climb the flower to get out, collecting pollen or leaving it on the way.

The Philippines is home to several species of these fine lady’s slippers. To name a few of them, Paphiopedilum fowliei can only be found in Palawan, while Paphiopedilum acmodontum is lightly covered in fine hair. Paphiopedilum philippinense is also a sight to behold with its elongated side petals that twist like ribbons.

#5. Rose Grape/Kapa-Kapa

Medinilla magnifica

The rose grape is also called the chandelier plant because of how its countless small pink flowers grow in a branching arrangement that can reach up to 30 cm in length. The top of this eye-catching “chandelier” is shielded by large matching bracts. An interesting feature of this shrub is that it grows on other trees but does not feed off of them. Believe it or not, it may also be a houseplant, if a dramatic one!

King Boudewijn of Belgium was fond of the rose grape and grew it in royal conservatories. It is said that he adored the plant so much, he added it to the old 10,000 Belgian franc banknote.

#6. Sander’s Vanda/Waling-Waling

Vanda sanderiana

With flowers measuring up to 15 cm across, the waling-waling holds the title of “Queen of Philippine Orchids” and almost became the country’s new national flower at some point. Most of its blooms can be found in a light rosy pink color with dark maroon speckles. However, you might come across a bluish-purple variant!

The Waling-Waling is fond of heights, growing on tree branches that hang 12 meters above the forest floor. Fittingly, this rare beauty is native to Davao, the Orchid Capital of the Philippines.


While you can’t expect to have your own jade vine or corpse lily, some of the other flowers on these list can be grown in your backyard. With enough care and attention, you might be able to send some lady’s slipper orchids or sacred garlic pear berries to your family and friends.

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