Today’s photograph is courtesy of David Tarrant, who recently retired from UBC Botanical Garden. This image was taken two months ago in his garden in Mexico. Thank you, David!
Paperflower or bougainvillea, although native to Brazil, is now widespread throughout the tropical and subtropical world due to its popularity as an ornamental plant (it is also grown as a houseplant in temperate climates). As is fairly common when something becomes so widely cultivated, a number of varieties and hybrids exist, so tracking down the name of an unknown cultivated plant can be tricky (hence today’s photograph marked as an unknown selection).
The colourful “petals” are actually modified leaves; these large bracts surround the small, whitish flowers that (appropriately) resemble other flowers in the tropical-to-warm-temperate Nyctaginaceae.