Sacuanjoche – Nicaragua’s National Flower

Posted by Jamie Cain on Nov 21, 2019 3:25:47 PM

Also called May Flower, the gorgeous Sacuanjoche was adopted as Nicaragua's national flower in 1971. Though different varieties of this flower are seen throughout the country, the most characteristic of the Nicaraguan culture is the variety with white petals and yellow center.

Sacuanjoche - Photo Courtesy of PinterestNicaraguan Sacuanjoche - Photo Courtesy of Pinterest

Sacuanjoche (Plumeria Rubra) is an exotic tropical flowering tree with pinwheel-shaped flowers that grows on the frangipani tree. This is a conical tree that flowers around May, hence the term May Flower.  Plumeria is a genus of flowering plants that has eleven species of shrubs and small trees in the dogbane family (Apocynaceae). It is native to warm tropical areas of the Caribbean, South America, Mexico and Pacific Islands.

Plumeria Tree - Photo Courtesy of WikipediaPlumeria Tree - Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

The Plumeria Rubra is one of the hundreds of named varieties of plumeria. The many different species have distinct features and growth habits, but the Plumeria Rubra is the variety that Nicaragua chose as one of their national symbols.

History of the Name 'Sacuanjoche'

The local name Sacuanjoche is derived from the Náhuatl language. "Xacuan" (sacuan) means beautiful yellow petals and "xochilt" (joche) means flower. 

Sacuanjoche Flower - Photo Courtesy of spanishdale.comSacuanjoche Flower - Photo Courtesy of

The word Frangipani comes from the name of a 16th-century Italian nobleman who created a perfume that had a similar scent.

The Plumeria name was in honor of the 17th-century French Franciscan monk and botanist Charles Plumier.

Variety of Fragrances

Unlike other flowers, Sacuanjoche are intensely fragrant and have different scents. Each variety smells unique and many sweet and spicy scents are noted-- such as citrus and peach, jasmine, gardenia, honeysuckle, coconut, and rose. Sacuanjoche are most fragrant at night to attract sphinx moths to pollinate them. However, the flowers yield no nectar, so their pollinators are tricked as they go from flower to flower in their futile search for nectar.

Sacuanjoche Flower -Photo Courtesy of therealnicaragua.comPink-shaded Sacuanjoche Flower -Photo Courtesy of

The Sacuanjoche flower truly captures the essence of the beautiful country of Nicaragua. I couldn’t agree more.

Considering a visit to Nicaragua and looking into accommodations? Check out my blog: “5 Reasons Why You’ll Love Staying at Gran Pacifica” here.


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Jamie Cain

Written by Jamie Cain

Jamie Cain is a native Texan. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance, and after graduating college, she began a career in modeling. “This was an incredible experience, as I had the opportunity to work and live in many amazing countries and experience all the different cultures.” After, she started a career in real estate in Dallas. Fast forward to 2017, she had the wonderful opportunity to join ECI Development as a Property Advisor for Nicaragua and Belize. Presently, Jamie lives on the East Coast with her husband and two white cats. She enjoys yoga, blogging, photography, and cooking.

Topics: History, Nicaragua, Tourism in Nicaragua, Vacationing in Nicaragua, moving to Nicaragua, Granada, Natural Attractions in Nicaragua, Nicaraguan Culture, Leon