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COLVILLEA racemosa

Image of Colvillea racemosa

James H. Schutte

Family

Fabaceae

Botanical Name

COLVILLEA racemosa

Plant Common Name

Colville's Glory Tree

General Description

The wispy, feathery leaves of Colville’s glory tree creates a gentle backdrop for its fiery clusters of orange flowers that appear in autumn. A splendid semi-deciduous tropical tree with coppery bark, it is native to the island of Madagascar off the southeastern coast of Africa.

The doubly pinnate, feathery leaves of this tree are soft, rich green and sway easily in the breeze. Each has small leaflets in 15-25 pairs that connect to larger central leaf petiole. Overall the tree looks unremarkable until early fall when it blooms. The flexible upper branch tips become weighted down by numerous, long-stemmed flower clusters, each with up to 200 buds. Over the course of several weeks the orange flowers open from the base of the cluster and advance to the tip. Each bloom has numerous golden stamens and attracts nectar-loving birds for pollination. In the Americas hummingbirds will visit this tree. The fruits that develop are large, flat, orange-brown pods filled with tan seeds.

Plant Colville’s glory tree in full sun and deep, rich, acid to neutral soil with good drainage. Though not overly tolerant of drought, it copes with lower water levels by shedding foliage and can become fully deciduous in subtropical areas with cool, dry winters. New leaves will not emerge until weather is warmer and water available again.

This outrageously beautiful flowering tree is tall and open and best nestled among other shorter, more rounded and dense trees. It look perfect planted among a mixed grove of palms and shade trees or as a specimen in a large public park or open landscape.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 10

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    30'-50' / 9.1m - 15.2m

  • Width

    12'-20' / 3.7m - 6.1m

  • Bloom Time

    Fall, Late Fall, Early Winter

  • Native To

    Madagascar

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Pollution

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Orange, Orange Red

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Mixed Border, Shade Trees, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes