Mazatlan’s Three Islands Turn White


If you go to the beach or to the boardwalk in Mazatlan, look carefully at the Three Islands and you will see that the vegetation shows a whitish color. This occurs because the Jacalosúchil bushes bloom at this time of year.

Isla Venados Mazatlan

The flowers form clusters at the tips of its branches when summer comes in and stand out among the vegetation for its white color and its pleasant fragrance, mainly on Pájaros Island, as it is more abundant.

It can also be seen in the Paco’s nature reserve and in some rural communities in the municipality.

Three Islands of Mazatlán
The islands have a whitish color in their foliage due to these flowers. Photo: Sergio EScutia / Naturalista.

The scientific name of this species is Plumería rubra , but it is commonly known as jacalosúchil, cacalosúchil, campechana, corpus, amancayo, flor de mayo or flor de cal, among other popular names.

The leaves of these trees are expired, that is, they fall at the time of flowering and at the beginning of fruiting.

The Three Islands of Mazatlán
The Plumeria rubra bloom is more abundant and visible on the island of Pájaros. Photo: Son Playas.

Why do they throw away their leaves?

They detach from their leaves to reserve moisture, withstand drought and heat, as do many of the plant species of the low deciduous forests that predominate in the Three Islands and throughout the region.

When they lose all their foliage they may appear to be dry, but in reality, they are preparing to endure adverse conditions and survive.

The three islands of Mazatlán
The leaves fall off in the flowering season. Photo: Son Playas.


According to information from the National Commission for the Knowledge and use of Biodiversity (Conabio), Plumeria rubra is a species native to Mesoamerica; It extends from Mexico to Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil.

In the Mexican Pacific it is distributed from Baja California and Sonora, to Chiapas. Nationally, this species has been photographed and registered on the Naturalist platform 4,218 times.

It has been widely introduced to tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world, and it is also cultivated in South Florida (United States), in the Antilles and in Hawaii, a country where necklaces with their flowers are attached to place around the neck of tourists upon arrival.

It is also called jacalosúchil or cacalosúchil. Photo: Son Playas.
  • Species native to Mesoamerica.
  • Tree or shrub 5 to 8 meters high.
  • It blooms from March to September, depending on the region.
  • Very fragrant flowers, white color and pale yellow center in wild species.
  • Its leaves are deciduous (deciduous).
  • Withstands drought.
  • It has medicinal uses, elaboration of cosmetic products and hygiene; its latex is used as a base to make chewing gum.
Plumeria rubra
Plumeria rubra . Photo: Sergio Escutia / Naturalist
Shrubs in Venados island, Mazatlán. Photo: Son Playas.
Plumeria rubra
Flowering plumeria shrub in Venados island. Photo: Patricia Sampeiro / Naturalist.


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