Michael Charters, www.calflora.net
(Bottle Tree, Kurrajong, Whiteflower Kurrajong)
Bottle tree is so remarkably drought-tolerant that it remains lush and green even in brutally hot, desert climates. It originates in eastern Australia where it grows in both humid and arid regions, but all with a long dry season. The large, glossy leaves are poplar-like, creating a dense, shade-giving canopy with a slightly weeping character. The trunk is wider at the base, an adaptation to drought for storing moisture.
The sun-loving tree produces clusters of tiny white flowers in spring, flushed...
(Rose-of-Venezuela, Scarlet Flame Bean)
A comparatively easy-to-grow tropical flowering tree, scarlet flame bean readily produces clusters of scarlet or red flowers and has pink emerging leaves. The flower clusters look like flaring flamenco skirts. This small tropical evergreen tree is native to Venezuela, Guyana and the forests of north-central Brazil. It attains an upright to spreading habit with irregular branching. Branch tips often arch or weep.
The long green leaves are compound, each with 10 to 18 elliptical leaflets. In...
James H. Schutte
(Lantern Brownea, Rose-of-Venezuela)
Lantern brownea readily produces plump, balled clusters of crimson to rose-red flowers and displays ornate, pink new foliage resembling handkerchiefs. The large flower clusters look like pendent crepe paper balls. This small tropical evergreen tree is native to Venezuela, Guyana and north-central Brazil's forests. It attains an upright to spreading habit with irregular branching. Branch tips often arch or weep.
The long green leaves are compound, each with 10 to 18 elliptical leaflets. In chilly...
The famed rose-of-Venezuela produces a tightly packed ball of pink-magenta to salmon-red flowers that look somewhat like large roses. The newly emerging foliage is amusingly speckled and floppy. This tropical evergreen tree is native to the rainforests of northern Venezuela and Trinidad in northern South America. Its habit is spreading and irregular.
Mature leaves on the rose-of-Venezuela are leathery and deep green. Each compound leaf contains five to 11 pairs of long, oval leaflets. Newly...
Ray Baker, Lyon Arboretum, University of Hawaii
(Panama-flame Tree, Rose-of-Venezuela)
A glamorous tropical tree with pink, floppy new foliage and vivid red flowers, the Panama-flame tree is a sight to see in the warmest months of the year. It's a large but slow-growing evergreen native to the rainforest understory from Panama to Colombia. When young, the tree is gangly with low-spreading branches, but as it ages it develops a short trunk and a tall, dome-like habit with pendulous foliage.
Panama-flame tree's leaves are compound, with two to six long, tapering, oval leaflets....
(Ecuador Angel's Trumpet)
Angel’s Trumpet is a tropical tree or shrub with unusual, large, pendent flowers that have a haunting, exotic fragrance. Native to Ecuador, Angel’s Trumpet has an open habit, large fuzzy leaves and is usually grown with multiple trunks. The flowers are trumpet–shaped and have five points at the bell of the trumpet. The fused petals start out white and turn to the true color within a day. There are several color forms and hybrids, most notably peach, white and yellow. The fruit is a prominent spindle-shaped...
In the right climate this hybrid Brugmansia can bloom in spurts all year round. This tropical shrub to small tree is a cross between smaller-flowered Brugmansia aurea and the large-flowered B. versicolor.
The woody plant has coarsely toothed medium green leaves with wavy edges. When conditions are favorable it produces huge downward hanging trumpet-shaped flowers in shades of pale orange, peachy pink or white, depending on the cultivar. These are among the most magnificent...
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,...