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CECROPIA obtusifolia

Image of Cecropia obtusifolia

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Cecropiaceae

Botanical Name

CECROPIA obtusifolia

Plant Common Name

Trompetillo, Trumpet Tree

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Beautifully exotic, hand-like leaves catches the eye of most plant lovers when seeing the trompetillo. An upright, rarely-branching, fast growing, broadleaf evergreen tree, it's native to central Mexico southward into northern South America. Known as a pioneer tree, it quickly germinates and forests cleared areas and vegetates waste areas alongside roads or abandoned lots.

The leaves of this Cecropia are among the easiest to distinguish, as they are large, rounded and deep green, with no less than nine lobes. Looking like a rounded hand, it can have as many as eleven lobes, each with a whitish green underside. The tree's stem is smooth, grayish white and hollow, often infested with ants that protect the plant from hungry animals. Flowering anytime the weather is warm and moisture ample, long banana-like buds that are salmon-red protrude from the trunk towards the tree's top. Trees are dioecious, either being fully male or female in floral gender. The light golden flowers are held in a mophead of pendent catkins (finger-like clusters). The flesh around the seeds in each ripe female catkin is juicy and sweet, relished by bats and birds that end up spreading the seeds across the rainforest.

Grow trompetillo in full to partial sun in any variety of soils, from well-draining to somewhat wet, in a frost-free location. Loving heat and humidity, it can grow upwards of 7 feet (3 m) each year. Protect this plant from damaging tropical storm winds. It's foliage is a reason to include this tree in the tropical garden, as well as trying the sweet fruits.

This tree may be regarded as undesirable or invasive in tropical areas outside of Central America. Its fast growth can make it relatively short lived in comparison to other hardwood tropical trees.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 8

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    30'-65' / 9.1m - 19.8m

  • Width

    10'-15' / 3.0m - 4.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Mexico, Central America, South America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Light Yellow, Gold

  • Fruit Color

    Ivory

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    White, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    Yes

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Bold

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Edible, Shade Trees, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes