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CORDIA sebestena

Image of Cordia sebestena

Michael Charters, www.calflora.net

Family

Boraginaceae

Botanical Name

CORDIA sebestena

Plant Common Name

Broadleaf Cordia, Geiger-tree, Scarlet Cordia

Special Notice

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

General Description

A tough, resilient small flowering tree, the Geiger-tree bears rounded clusters of bright orange flowers intermittently across the tropical year. It is native to the coasts and forests across the Caribbean Basin, including northern South America. It was introduced into the Florida Keys by early settlers. Depending on the growing conditions, Geiger-tree may be an upright, oval-canopied tree or more of a large bush.

The plump, oval green leaves have a coarse, sandpaper texture. They usually are evergreen, but drought accompanied by low ambient humidity causes leaf drop. Anytime temperatures are warm, branch tip may produce clusters of crepe papery blossoms. Clusters resemble those seen on florist geraniums. Geiger-tree's flowers are funnel-shaped with six spreading lobes. Usually bright orange, some trees may bloom orange-red to pale orange. Fleshy white fruits may follow.

Grow Geiger-tree in as much sun as possible. It prospers in well-drained sandy soils. The tree makes an exceptional choice for coastal gardens or water-conservation landscapes. It tolerates heat and drought, also making it worthwhile as a tropical street tree where irrigation is limited. Geiger tree looks its best with evenly moist soil, especially in summer's intense heat.

The hungry black and white larvae of the tortoise beetle may completely defoliate the tree.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    15'-25' / 4.6m - 7.6m

  • Width

    12'-20' / 3.7m - 6.1m

  • Bloom Time

    Summer, Fall, Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Caribbean

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought, Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Orange

  • Fruit Color

    Ivory

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown

  • 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

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Street Trees, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    No