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Plants Growing in the Sides of the Unpaved Roads

Description and Rationale




Philippines is widely known for unpaved roads and the undeveloped ways. Unpaved roads and undeveloped ways can be commonly seen around the country and surprisingly, this issue causes many effects on other things. The people who have already been living in the Philippines may be used to the roads, but many tourists and newcomers in the country have complained about the effects on the cars and many other issues caused by the unpaved roads.

             What exactly do the unpaved roads cause? First of all, the unpaved roads are full of dust, so whenever a car drives by, the dusts and maybe even more things that we do not notice spread around the edges. Also, there are more traffic due to the unpaved roads and it is less comfortable for those with the cars. Some even say their cars get destroyed easier in the Philippines, because the unpaved road cause the cars’ engine to be used up faster. 

             However, my major issue that I would like to point out is the plants in the edges of the unpaved roads. They are always spread with dust and dirt. Unhealthy plants (usually grass) can be seen very commonly and most of the plants in the edges of the unpaved roads die out fast. The dust blown by the car lands on the leaves and the plants, so they turn yellow and dries. Philippines is quite a big country and is full of unpaved roads. Therefore, there must be many plants dying in the sides of the unpaved roads. It is not only the dust, but also the car pollution that causes the plants to die. Even in the middle of the city, where plants grow separately from the roads, the plants are dying because of the bad car pollution.

             Personally, the road in front of my dorm is unpaved, and the dirty water flowing down from the hill is killing all the plants along with the dusts that blow from the unpaved roads. If it were not for the unpaved roads and the dusts, there would be flowers blooming and a pleasant sight that could be visible. However, the Government of the Philippines does not exactly focus on the issue of the unpaved roads. So then, what can be done to help the plants and the unpaved roads?

             The main purpose of this project is to warn the people about the effects of the unpaved roads on the plants in the sides and to find ways for the people to take better care of the plants on the sides of the roads. Through more researches and further observations, solutions for the plants could be found and possible put into action for the good of all.

             It is hoped that smart solutions and wise ways could be found through this project for the plants growing in the side of the roads. More attractive sights could be seen by improving this issue.







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Common Names and Synonyms

Plumeria is mostly known as Frangipani and sometimes, they are called Himatanthus Willd. It is originally spelled Plumiera, but most people know it by the name of Frangipani, because this name comes from a sixteenth-century Italian noble family and this is used all over Hawaii. Depending in the area, the names differ. In Indonesia, it is referred to as “Kembang Kamboja” and in India, it is known as the “Temple Tree” or “Champa.” In Australia, surprisingly, it is known as the “Dead Man’s Finger’s.” However, in the Philippines, it is mostly known as “Kalachuchi”.



Kingdom: Plantae

Phylum: Magnoliophyta

Class: Magnoliopsida

Order: Gentianales

Family: Apocynaceae

Genus: Plumeria

Spcies: Plumeria alba

Plumeria inodora

Plumeria obtusa

Plumeria pudica

Plumeria rubra (Also known as Plumeria acutifolia)

Plumeria stenopetala

Plumeria stenophylla

Plumeria is a small genus that contains only eight species. Though Plumeria is common and popular in tropical places, all the eight species look very alike and there are abundance of this plant in the Philippines. The species of a Plumeria is determined by their different shapes of the leaves and their form and growth habits. Some leaves are narrower and corrugated than others. Some leaves have elongated oak shape and glossy, dark green color than others.



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Morphology and Physical Description

Generally, Plumeria is a small tree that grows about 30 ft high. It is round and broad, so its horizontal length is about same as its vertical length. The colors and the sizes vary according to their species.


The leaves of Plumeria are green and somewhat glossy. The shapes of the leaves are mostly ovate and its tips are usually pointy. The flowers usually consist of five petals and each petal has a diameter of 2-3 inches. The colors vary according to their species. The common colors are white, red, yellow, pink, or sometimes, it has multiple colors. In addition, some bloom about 200 flowers per cluster and some produce only about 50-60 per cluster.





Getting Food

             Just like all the other plants, Plumeria needs the necessary factors most plants need. It needs sun, water, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. Plumeria eat a lot and they like moisturized soil. A good mix of soil will result blossoms and more.  Also, just like all the other plants, it carries photosynthesis and grow well. A unique characteristic of a Plumeria is that the flowers don not die as fast as other flowers. Plumeria flowers are thick and strong.

             In the Philippines, rain is common, so it helps the soil get enough moisture and support the soil to be healthy. Plumeria is a very independent plant that grows well and easily. It is perfectly suited for sidewalks of the roads. It is not only is it healthy to grow there, but the flowers are also beautiful and they can make the sideways look attractive. One reason it can be suited for the sidewalks of the Philippines is that it grows anytime of the year. It may struggle during the typhoons or other environmental issues, but it will survive well throughout the whole year.



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             Plumeria, like all the other plants, reproduce my pollination. Most Plumeria perform self-pollination, but most of them prefer cross-pollination. Pollination is simply a reproduction of seed plants. The pollen is transferred to the ovule and seed is produced. Like mentioned before, Plumeria can bloom a minimum of 50 and to a maximum of 200 flowers per cluster. Bees and butterflies help the plants pollinate. However, for Plumeria, sphinx moths take part of the pollination. Plumeria reproduces fast and easy


Environmental Factors


           Plumerias are commonly grown in containers or in the ground. It can be grown well in the sidewalks. When the soil is moisturized, Plumeria vigorously stores the nutrients and grow healthily. Plumeria grows in any kind of condition, as long as it is tropical, so it can be grown in any of the sidewalks in the Philippines.

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Origin and Distribution


             Plumeria is mostly shrubs and trees. It can be commonly seen anywhere from Mexico to Central America. They are famous in Hawaii. They produce flowers that are yellow to pink depending on how they cultivate the plant. The Plumeria genus is related to the Oleander, Nerium Oleander. The two genuses both possess poisonous, milky sap. In Mexico, they are often used for many medicinal purposes such as salves and ointments.

             Plumiera, as originally spelled, is named after Charles Plumier, the seventeenth-century French botanist. Charles Plumier is known for documenting many plant and animal species. AS mentioned before, the other common name, Frangipani, comes from a sixteenth-century Italian noble family. The lady of the house invented a plumeria-scented perfume.




Importance to People

            Just like other plants, Plumeria is used to beautify things. It is just pleasant to look at. However, the flowers of Plumeria is used for many things. For example, there are cosmetic uses like perfumes, shower gels, shampoo, and many other products that contain Plumeria scents. In some areas, Plumeria is used as medical treatments.

             In many of the southeastern Asia, Plumeria is a symbolic plant that is religiously treated. For example, in India, it is even called “Temple Tree,” because it is used in religious practices. In India, local folk believe that it provides shelter to ghosts and demons. In Malay, The scent of the Plumeria has a connection with a vampire. For many people, Plumeria is a very valued plant.In Hawaii, they are used for making leis, a jewelry made up of Plumeria.


Plumeria is almost the perfect plant for the sidewalks of the Philippines. It can brighten the sidewalks and spread the attractive smell. Their smell is mostly fragrant at night, because they want to attract the sphinx moths for pollination. Its smell can also make the sidewalks more valued.




Survivability and Endangered Status


            The Plumeria itself is not endangered or anything, because it survives better than many other plants. However, if it is really planted in the sidewalks in the Philippines, its condition and health will not be as good as it can be in countryside with fresh air. The dust from the cars driving by and the pollution that the cars make all spread to the plants in the sidewalks and eventually kills them. However, plants are needed for the sidewalks and Plumeria is probably the best choice, because its survivability is greater than other plants. It grows all year long, and the flowers and the leaves are think and strong. Also, the flowers bloom often and the smell spreads continually. The dust and the pollution might bother the plants and cause some harms, but Plumeria still has the capability to brighten the sidewalks.


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Potential Solutions

          How can the sidewalks and the unpaved roads in the Philippines be beautified and look more pleasant to see? Philippines has a common image of dusty roads and dirty sidewalks. They are just waiting for people’s help and care. With just a little more care and concern, the roads and the sidewalks and looks so much better. Since Philippines is now growing as a country of tourism and traveling, developing the unpaved roads and the sidewalks can be a great idea. Beautifying the country we live in is not only for the benefit of the country itself, but for others and also for ourselves. How exactly can the unpaved roads and the sidewalks develop? Well, below are 2 possibilities along with an analysis of the advantages and disadvantages for each.


Possibility 1  PLUMERIA

                 Plumeria, a beautiful flower that grows all year long, can be suggested to solve this problem. Further research prove that Plumeria’s potential survivability and pleasant smell can be probably one of the best beautifier for the sidewalks and the unpaved roads. It can be planted along the sidewalks and on the sidesof the unpaved roads. The motive of this project is not only the sidewalks and the roads, but rather, it is about beautifying the environment and appreciating God’s creation. Decorating the unpaved roads and the sidewalks with flowers, especially with Plumeria, would be one of the easiest and the best way. With Plumeria comes many benefits and satisfaction. There are many ways Plumeria can be used for the sidewalks and the roads. However, there are disadvantages and advantages to this idea.


1. Planting Plumeria in the sidewalks and the in the sides of the unpaved roads and simply brighten the atmosphere. It is not only the looks and the appearances of the flowers, but also the attractive smell of the flower.  Plumeria is widely known for its lovely smell. It is commonly used for many cosmetics like perfumes, shower gels, shampoo, and many others. The smell from Plumeria can also be one of the pleasant results. Since Plumeria has a better endurance than other flowers, it would be a wise choice to use them. 

2. Plumeria is also easy to purchase in the Philippines. It is sold at an agreeable cost. It could be bought at anywhere and since it is an all-year-long flower, it can be purchased at anytime of the year.

3. Plumeria has the capability of reproducing even in the sidewalks and the in the sides of the unpaved roads. People passing by, especially tourists would enjoy the pretty sights and the view. The streets would look more valuable and somewhat more memorable. 

4. If possible, the flowers can be used for many factors. As mentioned before,  Plumeria is commonly used for cosmetics and other products with smells. If good conditions were provided and planting the Plumeria resulted many flowers that could be used, the flowers could be sold for products.

5. As Christian with a Christian perspective, I think it is our responsibility to    enjoy God’s creation and try to use them to benefit others. Plumeria is one of God’s creation and it could be used to beautify and to brighten up the atmosphere. He would also be satisfied with his creations being used to bring pleasure and joy.




1. Even though Plumeria is easy to purchase and not very expensive, it needs some money in the beginning to purchase many at one time. The cost would no longer be inexpensive, because a group of Plumeria would be needed at a time. If there is a limited amount of money to be spent, the cost might be over the range.

2. Plumeria would be affected by the surroundings. The pollutions and the dusts from the car would lessen the strength of the Plumeria. Even though  Plumeria may be stronger than other plants, it can still be affected by the pollutions. The cars, especially jeepneys, produce much pollution and Plumeria would be influenced.



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Possibility 2  CLEAN AND NEAT

             The unpaved roads are full of dust and the sidewalks are usually with trash. If the unpaved roads and the sidewalks look cleaner and neater, it would look much better and bring pleasure to the citizens passing by. Usually, the dirty roads spread bad odor and dust is usually visible as cars drive by. As one of the people living in side the country, we have the responsibility to help the environment. We could voluntarily clean the roads, such as picking up trashes, and watering the plants in the sides of the roads. We can also put up encouraging signs to warn the people not to throw away trash or to pollute the road. In this case, we can keep up the cleanness and improve the roads.


1. The unpaved roads and the sidewalks will look brighter and neater by the   cleanness. With less trash and more care, it would also spread less odor and people can walk by it or drive by it without complaints in their faces. Cleaner sidewalks and the neater unpaved roads would simply bring satisfaction to the people.

2. The voluntary part would be a great challenge. By cleaning and helping out the roads, I could be involved with the environment and truly care for it. I can get in the problem and actually solve the problem by working.

3. Since God gave us the surroundings and the conditions to live in, we have to respect and care for them. This would benefit our morality of thankfulness and also our respect along with care and concern.




1. If that road and the sidewalk is specifically owned by a person may not allow the signs to be posted. Since they are in charge and they may own the place, I would not be able to put my plan to action. If the person declines and does not want me doing my project, I would have no right against them.

2. Energy is necessary for this plan. I would have to actually get in the problem and do the work. Working under the hot weather will be tiring and hard. Also, the action would have to be done continuously. I would have to continue the work once in awhile. If the sign fell off, another new one would  have to be hung again. Much devoted concern and care would have to be involved.




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           In order to actually put my plan into action, I went out into the action field and tried surveying how effective this plan would be. I tried to look for a place that uses Plumeria for the sidewalks. It was hard, because even when I saw the plant, I could not find who was in charge of the street. After hours of searching, I tried talking to the Valley golf Golf Course manager. He was very nice to show me around the golf course. He said the trees were planted in different places to just brighten the golf filed. As I looked around, I noticed there were quite various kinds of Plumeria. Even

though the manager was not very sure why the people chose to use Plumeria, he mentioned how it was an all-year long growing plant. I was very excited to see how people were already starting to use Plumeria and how I could see the effects of this plant in the golf course. Though they did not allow me to take some home my self, I had some pictures taken from the golf course.

             Since I could not plant the Plumeria myself, I decided to go out and clean the street. I wanted to show how a person’s small effort to clean a sidewalk could make a difference. I chose the street in front of the dormitory I am living in. It is usually filled with trash and it spreads bad odor. It was not the trash picking part, but, rather, the smell that got me hesitant for a moment.














“Plumeria.” Wikipedia.org.  30 May 2007.


“Plumeria.” Theplumeriasociety.org 30 May 2007


“Common names of Plumeria.” Flickr.com 30 May 2007


“Plumeria.” Geocites.com 30 May 2007


“Pollination of flowers.” Wikepedia.org 30 May 2007


“Uses of Plumeria.” Hawaii.edu 30 May 2007


“Plumeria.” Biologycomer.com 30 May 2007





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