Discover The National Flower of Puerto Rico: Flor de Maga’s Flower

The Flor de Maga is the official flower of Puerto Rico.
© Warewardson/Shutterstock.com

Written by Heather Hall

Updated: August 22, 2023

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Geography of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico hosts some of the most popular beaches in the country, including Jobos Beach

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Puerto Rico is an archipelago in the Caribbean region. It consists of the main island of Puerto Rico and several smaller islands. It is approximately 100 miles long by 35 miles wide and has a total land area of 3,515 square miles. The terrain is mostly mountainous, with coastal plains to the north and south. The highest point on the island is Cerro de Punta, which reaches 4,390 feet above sea level.

Additionally, many rivers flow through Puerto Rico’s lush jungles and rainforest, including Rio Grande de Loiza, Rio Grand de Arecibo, and Rio La Plata. These are all part of the San Juan River watershed in northern Puerto Rico. There are also numerous bays along its coastline, such as Bahia de Culebra and Bahia de Boqueron, which make it a popular destination for tourists who want to go sailing or scuba diving in crystal clear waters surrounded by coral reefs full of tropical fish.

People and Culture

The people of Puerto Rico are warm, welcoming, and friendly. They have a strong sense of identity and community pride that their vibrant culture reflects. Their traditional music and dance styles are deeply rooted in the history of the country. It’s also easy to see new influences from around the world in modern-day celebrations.

Puerto Rican cuisine reflects its Caribbean roots with a unique blend of flavors from Africa, Spain, Latin America, North America, and beyond. Dishes like arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas) or mofongo (mashed plantains fried into balls) represent just some of the delicious options available on this beautiful island. This food is often served alongside cold beer or fruity cocktails for an enjoyable meal experience.

Native Plants

Royal palm trees are one of many plants native to Puerto Rico

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Puerto Rico is home to a wide variety of native plant species, many of which grow nowhere else in the world. Some of the most common native plants that grow wild in Puerto Rico include banana trees, royal palm trees, coconuts palms, and balsa wood. Additionally, there are a number of flowering plants, such as hibiscus and begonia, that grow throughout the island. Other notable native plants include tree ferns, orchids, cacti, and mangroves. All these plants thrive in Puerto Rico’s tropical climate and contribute to its lush vegetation.

National Flower of Puerto Rico

The Flor de Maga is the official flower of Puerto Rico.

Flor de Maga’s flower is the national flower of Puerto Rico

©Warewardson/Shutterstock.com

The Flor de Maga (Thespesia grandiflora) is Puerto Rico’s national flower. It thrives in tropical environments and produces stunning pink or red blooms. These cup-shaped flowers measure 3.5 inches long and 5 inches across, with five overlapping petals. Its dark green, heart-shaped leaves range in size from 2 to 8 inches long. The tree produces these large, fragrant blossoms only after it reaches five years of age.

What Is a Flor de Maga?

Thespesia grandiflora is a beautiful tree of medium size with dark green leaves and big, dark pink or red flowers. It can reach up to 65 feet in height and 20 inches in diameter when growing in natural forests. It grows best on lower slopes of limestone hills. The species is able to survive in different soil conditions, from alkaline to acidic. It is found in regions of Puerto Rico with an average annual precipitation of 50 to 100 inches and temperatures between 68 to 80 °F.

Common Names

This plant only has a couple of common names. Thespesia grandiflora is called the Maga Tree in English. It is known as Flor de Maga and Maga Colorada in Spanish. It is also sometimes labeled a hibiscus, but it is a different family and is not a true hibiscus.

How to Grow

Pink Maga flower - Thespesia grandiflora

A number of growing conditions allow Flor de Maga’s flower to thrive.

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Flor de Maga’s flower thrives in a wide range of growing conditions. The plant can tolerate saline soils and can even thrive in coastal regions. Plant it in an area that receives full sun or partial shade, with well-drained, moist soil with a pH range from mildly alkaline to strongly acidic. It needs regular watering as it hails from the humid tropics but has medium nutrient requirements, so fertilizer isn’t necessary if the soil is already rich. You should prune it regularly, both for shaping its form and removing any weak branches or poor angles, which could impact growth or damage the structure of the plant over time. It is hardy in USDA zones 11 and above.

Other Uses

The hardwood of the Flor de Maga tree is highly sought after for its durability and resistance to termites. This makes it an ideal material for building furniture and fence posts. In addition to providing a reliable source of timber, the flowers of this tree are also an important food source for local pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

Bats and birds play an essential role in helping disperse their seeds across Puerto Rico’s forests. The Flor de Maga has no other method of seed dispersal and relies on wildlife to spread them.

Origins

The Flor de Maga, or the “flower of Puerto Rico,” is a species of flowering tree native to and widely distributed throughout Puerto Rico. It is endemic to the humid limestone mountains of the island. However, it can now be found everywhere due to its extensive cultivation.

In addition, it has been grown as an ornamental tree in other parts of the world, such as Florida, Hawaii, Honduras, and various Caribbean islands. The Flor de Maga’s flower has become a symbol of Puerto Rican identity and culture and continues to spread beyond its original location.

Wild Flowers

Tillandsia air plant

Tillandsias, native to Puerto Rico, add life to a home as decor.

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Puerto Rico is home to a variety of native wildflowers, including black dahlia, red mamey, and white doncella. These colorful plants are often seen growing along roadways, hillsides, and riversides throughout the island. Additionally, there are many species of orchids native to Puerto Rico, which provide an array of colors and sizes for those looking to admire these beautiful blooms in their natural setting. There is also an abundance of ferns in the tropics that can be spotted near streams or on shady mountain slopes. Lastly, bromeliads such as Tillandsias add life and color to any outdoor space with their bright reds, yellows, and blues!

Wild Animals

Sea Turtle (Hawksbill Turtle) with clean background.

Hawksbill turtles are a striking sight, and call the waters around Puerto Rico home.

©John Back/Shutterstock.com

Puerto Rico is home to a diverse array of wild animals, many of which are endemic species. The most iconic animal on the island is the Puerto Rican Amazon parrot, also known as “El llorador” (the crier). This colorful bird can be found in various parts of the island and lives in large flocks. Other native birds include white-tailed tropicbirds, broad-winged hawks, and yellow-shouldered blackbirds.

The waters around Puerto Rico are teeming with life too! Commonly sighted marine mammals include bottlenose dolphins, spotted dolphins, Bryde’s whales, manatees, and humpback whales. There are also several species of sea turtles, including green turtles, hawksbill turtles, and leatherbacks, that nest along Puerto Rico’s coasts each year.

In addition to these animals, there are several other species, such as iguanas, snakes (including boa constrictors), bats, and even agoutis – a type of rodent that looks like a giant guinea pig! With so much wildlife to explore, it’s easy to see why nature lovers enjoy visiting Puerto Rico!

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About the Author

Heather Hall is a writer at A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on plants and animals. Heather has been writing and editing since 2012 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture. As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, Heather enjoys hiking, gardening, and trail running through the mountains with her dogs.

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