Forest & Kim Starr
Plant Common Name
Beach Cordia, Island Walnut, Kou, Sea Trumpet
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A terrific tree for coastal shade across the tropics, sea trumpet has glossy green foliage and small peach-orange flowers in small clusters throughout the year. A broadleaf evergreen, this tender tree is native to the coastal areas of East Africa, tropical southern and southeastern Asia, Australia and into the Pacific Islands. Its smooth grayish bark eventually becomes more brown and furrowed with age.
The large green leaves are glossy above with a matte underside and are shaped like eggs with a blunt tip. In flushes across the year, small clusters of five to seven petaled flowers that are trumpet-shaped appear on branch tips. Although usually seen as light orange in color, there is variability across the vast native range to include flowers that are nearly white and peach-yellow. Pollinated by butterflies and sea breezes, the crepe-like blossoms yield a hard oval fruit that matures to dark brown. These fruits float in water and when cracked open reveal only a few white seeds. Typically the short-lived flowers, developing fruits, and ripe fruits can all be seen on the same tree.
Grow sea trumpet in full sun. Tolerant of many average to well-drained, moist soils, it is best in sandy loams that are not highly acidic. It tolerates typical garden conditions (uniform irrigation) as well as seasonally dry climates. Use it as a pleasant small shade tree for the home yard, as a shade tree or clustered windbreak along the tropical seashore or as a street tree.
AHS Heat Zone
12 - 10
USDA Hardiness Zone
10 - 15
25'-40' / 7.6m - 12.2m
22'-26' / 6.7m - 7.9m
Eastern Africa, Southern Asia, Southeastern Asia, Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia, Australia
Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline
Clay, Loam, Sand
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter