The Santan flower (Ixora coccinea) is called Jungle Flame or Jungle Geranium in English. It is an evergreen shrub of 1 to 4 m height in the coffee family (Rubiceae). Besides Coffea, the source of coffee, also Cinchona, the source of quinine, and Gardenia, another evergreen shrub, belong to the same family. The flowers are red, pink, orange, yellow, or white. All parts of the plant are used in Ayurveda medicine.
The natural range of Santan flowers are Sri Lanka and southern India. But they have been cultivated in as a hedging plant in tropical and subtropical regions around the world, since Santan is an ornamental plant that flowers all year and requires only little maintenance, only little water. It has become widespread in the Philippines, where they are used for necklaces and medical treatment of dysentery and other diseases. Many Santan flowers in Western countries are imported from the Philippines. But the original Santan flower species from the Philippines are not South Asia’s Ixora coccinea but the white Ixora philippinensis (Kamingi) from Luzon and the peach Ixora palawanensis, which is endemic to a few islands of Palawan. Ixora finlaysoniana is a white variety from southern China, Assam, and Southeast Asia. Ixora javanica is a red variety from Indonesia.
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