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PELTOPHORUM pterocarpum

Image of Peltophorum pterocarpum

Carol Cloud Bailey

Family

Fabaceae

Botanical Name

PELTOPHORUM pterocarpum

Plant Common Name

Copperpod, Yellow Flame Tree, Yellow Jacaranda

Special Notice

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

General Description

A fast-growing tree that develops a broad, umbrella-domed canopy, the copperpod is prized for its grape-scented golden flowers that seem to glow in sunlight. It's usually evergreen, but briefly drops some foliage in the height of the tropical dry season. Copperpod is native to tropical southern and southeastern Asia, from Sri Lanka to the Philippines, and to the north coast of Australia. It has rather brittle wood and a shallow root system.

Newly emerging leaves are coppery-red and fuzzy. As they mature and unfurl, they become glossy, deep yellow-green. The ferny leaves are double-compound, with 10 to 20 pairs of oval leaflets on each side stem. Flowering occurs twice annually: the first in late spring or early summer and a second in early autumn. Upright clusters of coppery-rust colored flower buds jut up from the branches. The buds open as golden yellow flowers that are short lived and smell faintly of grapes at night. Petals fall from the tree and create a golden carpet of debris that crackles when you walk over them. Flat, dry seed pods later form, ripening to a bright coppery red.

Grow copperpod in full sun in any fertile, well-drained soil. It is an especially good choice for urban alkaline soils that are dry. This species also is highly tolerant of coastal salt spray conditions. Some may argue the leaf and flower petal drop makes this a messy tree, but the cast shade and flower display are rewarding. Use it as a specimen tree in a park or spacious garden. In regions experiencing strong tropical storms, think twice about planting copperpod close to buildings or lining streets where cars are parked. Termites also may plague trees.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    30'-75' / 9.1m - 22.9m (40)

  • Width

    40'-70' / 12.2m - 21.3m (45)

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall

  • Native To

    Southern Asia, Southeastern Asia, India, Australia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Pollution, Drought, Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Arching/Fountain-shaped

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Gold

  • Fruit Color

    Dark Salmon, Copper

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Copper

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Fissured

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Shade Trees, Street Trees, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes