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CORDIA lutea

Image of Cordia lutea

James Burghardt

Family

Boraginaceae

Botanical Name

CORDIA lutea

Plant Common Name

Muyuyo, Peruvian Cordia, Yellow Cordia, Yellow Geiger

General Description

Yellow Geiger's arching branches produce showy clusters of funnel-shaped, cheerful yellow flowers when temperatures are warm. Native to western Ecuador, Peru and the Galapagos Islands, this evergreen tree may grow more like a spreading, floppy shrub. It naturally inhabits arid slopes and is tolerant of drought and salt spray. The trunk is often obscured by the bushy canopy, but the sandy gray bark underneath has an exfoliating texture.

The large rounded to oval leaves are matte green with slightly hairy paler green undersides. When touched they feel like sandpaper. On the branch tips, clusters of yellow flowers develop, mainly from spring to fall. Each funnel-shaped blossom is wide-mouthed with wavy or pointed edges. Butterflies visit the blossoms, but fruit and seed production usually doesn't occur in cultivated plants.

Plant the yellow Geiger in full to partial sun and average, well-drained soil. Avoid shade and wet soil. It is tolerant of heat, drought and oceanside stresses. The broad, spreading branches of this tree make it best-suited to spacious landscapes. It will shade and cover plants below its boughs, so only plant the most shade-tolerant plants beneath it. This is an ideal tropical for use as a screen or borders backdrop. Light winter frosts will kill this tree to the ground, but stems will sprout back like a perennial if the roots are not frozen. Propagate by layering lower branches along soil to get new rooted plants.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 13

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    10'-20' / 3.0m - 6.1m

  • Width

    18'-25' / 5.5m - 7.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Indeterminate

  • Native To

    South America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought, Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Arching/Fountain-shaped

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Lemon Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Ivory

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Bark Color

    Tan, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Exfoliating

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No