Touting fine, rich green foliage and unique, radial, yellow flowers through the warmth of summer, vera wood is an exceptionally beautiful tropical tree. Native to Colombia and Venezuela, this slow-growing evergreen can be found inhabiting dry tropical forests. Its reddish brown bark flakes off in a visually appealing way, and the wood is dense and desirable for furniture making.
The fine, compound leaves of vera wood are comprised of eight or nine small, oval leaflets. These are arranged alternately...
Carol Cloud Bailey
(Gumbo Limbo, Tourist Tree, Turpentine Tree)
Numerous, laugh-inspiring common names abound for the gumbo limbo, which has beautiful bark and lustrous bright green leaves. The smooth, swollen limbs and trunk base are the reason it's called red belly tree. The thin, peeling, reddish bark -- which looks like sunburned skin -- gives rise to the name tourist tree. The strong odor of gumbo limbo's wood is the reason for the name turpentine tree.
Gumbo limbo is native to the dry lowland thickets and woods across the Caribbean Basin, including...
(Flame-of-the-forest, Parrot Tree)
Easily misidentified as a coral tree (Erythrina spp.) because of its pointed, beak-like flowers, the flame-of-the-forest lacks thorns on its branches and bears fuzzy black and vermilion-orange flowers. Native to the humid, lowland forests of India and Sri Lanka, it may fail to flower or partially die back if winter conditions become too cold, dry, or wet. Flame-of-the-forest almost always attains an upright, tattered, crooked habit that's intriguing when limbs are devoid of leaves in winter,...
(Climbing Palas, Flame-of-the-forest)
Three-parted leaves and showy orange-red flowers that look like bird beaks are the two chief ornamental highlights of the climbing palas. This woody vine (liana) is native to the forests of Southeast Asia, from eastern India and southern China into Thailand, Laos and southern Burma. It quickly colonizes sunny, open areas clambering across the ground or growing upward on the trunks of trees. Climbing palas grows from a plump, yam-like root that is yellow and contains mild toxins, often used in traditional...
James H. Schutte
(Faulkner Littleleaf Boxwood, Littleleaf Boxwood)
Faulkner or Littleleaf boxwood is a slow growing, upright broadleaf evergreen shrub with glossy, dark green foliage turning somewhat bronze in the winter. Bees are attracted by its non-showy fragrant spring flowers. Tolerant of a wide range of soils, this shrub grows well in sun and heavy shade. Its dense, slow growing habit requires little to no pruning and is best used in mixed borders, as a hedge or in a formal garden setting.
James H. Schutte
(Green Beauty Japanese Boxwood, Japanese Boxwood)
Green Beauty Japanese boxwood is a compact, slow growing, broadleaf evergreen shrub. New foliage is light green turning darker, glossy green during the summer and bronze in the winter. It is tolerant of a wide range of soils, tolerates drought slightly better than other boxwood and deer will not browse on it. Grow in part sun to part shade as a foundation plant, a low hedge or in a mixed shrub border.
James H. Schutte
(Japanese Boxwood, Winter Gem Japanese Boxwood)
Winter Gem Japanese boxwood is a slow growing, rounded broadleaf evergreen shrub with light green foliage in the spring turning glossy, dark green in the summer. Bees are attracted by its non-showy fragrant spring flowers. Tolerant of a wide range of soils, this shrub also grows well is sun and part shade. As with most boxwood, it responds well to pruning and shearing and is best used in mixed borders, as a small hedge or in a formal garden setting.
(Brazilwood, Indian Savin Tree, Peachwood)
Lustrous dark green foliage is the perfect background to see the pretty, long-lived yellow blossoms of peachwood in autumn and winter. An evergreen, frost-tender small tree with an interestingly rounded form, it is native to limestone soils of eastern Central America and islands of the Caribbean. Its stout trunks and branches have a nice corky bark that has scattered spiny thorns. Its heartwood is finely grained and tough, sometimes favored for making musical instruments.
Leathery and rich green,...
(Mexican Bird-of-Paradise, Mexican Holdback, Mexican Poinciana)
This lovely desert shrub fills many roles in the subtropical, water-conserving garden. It is native to the dry washes and rugged landscape of the northern Mexican hill country. It has an upright habit and open branching, but its foliage is dense. The rich green compound leaves have small oval leaflets are look crisp and pretty. It naturally becomes quite large, but cultivated specimens are typically pruned to remain shorter or single-trunked.
Mexican holdback has deep yellow flowers held in...