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BULNESIA arborea

Image of Bulnesia arborea

James Burghardt

Family

Zygophyllaceae

Botanical Name

BULNESIA arborea

Plant Common Name

Vera Wood

General Description

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 on the stems. When weather conditions are wet and warm, a lovely display of golden yellow flowers is borne in profusion. Each blossom has five spoon-like petals. When pollinated by insects, winged seeds (called samaras) are produced, which turn from light green to tan. Each samara has five keels and one seed.

Grow vera wood in full sun and average, well-drained soil that is not highly alkaline. It will tolerate poor soils and will withstand drought once established. Trees should be protected from tropical storms as they tend to have weak root systems that are easily upturned. Water and fertilize regularly in spring and summer, but allow it to remain dry in winter. Vera wood makes a beautiful specimen shade tree in tropical regions and can even be used for bonsai.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    25'-50' / 7.6m - 15.2m (40)

  • Width

    18'-30' / 5.5m - 9.1m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall, Fall

  • Native To

    South America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought, Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Gold

  • Fruit Color

    Green, Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Olive, Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    White, Sienna, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Corky

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Shade Trees, Street Trees, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No