The Mussaendas are ornamental shrubs with one or more of the sepals or calyx lobes developing unusually into large, petaloid structures. The genus Mussaenda belongs to the family Rubiaceae and includes some 200 species found in Africa, Madagascar, India, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Polynesia and Australia. In the Philippines, it is represented by about 20 species. A few of these are M. philippica A. Rich, M. benguetensis Elmer, M. palawanensis Merr., M. pinatubensis Elmer and M. magallanensis Elmer. Most of the locally grown Mussaendas are colorful hybrids and their development began with the discovery of M. philippica var aurorae Sulit, popularly known as ‘Doña Aurora.’ Source
Doña Aurora was first found in 1915 in the vicinity of Mount Makiling as a spontaneous mutant of the species Mussaenda philippica. Doña Aurora is named after the wife of the former president Manuel Quezon, and has been utilized as one of the parents in the development of the Mussaenda hybrids.
It is a shrub or small tree, 3 to 5 meters high. Leaves are opposite, broad-ovate, with short-pointed tips, dark green and glossy. Calyx lobes are expanded into white or greenish-white, large, leaf-like, oval bracts; the green blade expanded with short-acute or blunt tip. Flowers are small, tubelike, expanded into 5, ovate lobes, yellowish orange in color.