Mussaenda philippica var. aurorae, commonly called Buddha’s Lamp, Doña Aurora. Virgin Tree or Tropical Dogwood is a tropical, flowering shrub or small tree, native to the Philippines. Buddha’s Lamp shrubs can reach heights up to about 5-6 meters and belong to the coffee family (Rubiaceae). Mussaenda philippica var. aurorae has been discovered in the year 1915 in Mt. Makiling in UP Los Baños and became an important parent in the hybridisation of Mussaenda cultivars, which are often named after Philippine first ladies. Mussaenda philippica var. aurorae is named in honour of the wife of President Manuel L. Quezon (1878 – 1944). Nowadays there are several Mussaenda hybrids around, like red (“Doña Eva”, “Doña Trining”, “Lakambini”, and “Florida”), white (“Mutya”, “Doña Aurora”, “Diwata” and “Maria Makiling”), and the colored cultivars (‘Baby Aurora’, ‘Doña Pacencia’, “Queen Sirikit“, and “Doña Esperanza”).
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Image: Buddha’s lamp (Mussaenda philippica var. aurorae)
Photographer: Kitisak “Nat” Jaidee