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TABEBUIA ochracea

Image of Tabebuia ochracea

Mauroguanandi, Flickr Contributor

Family

Bignoniaceae

Botanical Name

TABEBUIA ochracea

Plant Common Name

Golden Trumpet Tree, Yellow Bark Tree

Special Notice

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

General Description

One of the most widespread yellow-flowering trumpet trees in Tropical America, the yellow bark tree produces fragrant, yellow flowers in early to late spring. This deciduous, slow-growing tree is native from Honduras southward into Brazil in rather dry forests. It develops a rounded but wide-spreading canopy, often with a twisted, interesting trunk. The bark is tan-gray, with a yellow underbark (the reason for its common name). The lumber is dense and heavy, popular for use as outdoor utility poles or fence posts.

The leaves are compound, resembling hands with five oval leaflets. Tiny white to tan hairs densely cover the leaflet undersides and the leaf stems. These hairs reflect heat and light, creating a shimmery quality. The foliage drops away slowly across the cool dryness of the winter, making a naked canopy by early spring. Then rather late in spring, clusters of bright yellow-gold flowers appear on branch tips. The fuzzy buds within each cluster open simultaneously and last about one day. The neck of the blossom is streaked with red or rust. Other clusters open across the tree repeatedly over about a 10- to 21-day period. Bees pollinated the lightly fragrant blossoms, which are easily damaged by wind or rain. Afterward, fuzzy seed pods develop and shed winged seeds to the ground. By late spring, new foliage emerges on the branches.

Grow yellow bark tree in full or partial sun in any fertile, well-drained soil. It's tolerant of heat and drought as well as moderate exposure to salt spray near the coast. Provide a moist soil during the heat of summer, but halt irrigation in early winter to ensure timely and complete defoliation. Trees look more spectacular when no leaves persist. A warm, moist winter can prevent leaf drop and disrupt a robust flower show. Use this tree as a specimen tree in a spacious yard or park, especially if irrigation is missing or the soil contains rock and grit. The yellow bark tree blooms later than most other commonly grown trumpet trees (Tabebuia spp. and Handroanthus spp.) in subtropical and tropical landscapes.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 13

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 13, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    40'-60' / 12.2m - 18.3m

  • Width

    50'-70' / 15.2m - 21.3m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Late Winter

  • Native To

    South America, Brazil

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought, Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Spreading

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Gold, Bronze, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Bark Color

    Tan, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • 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

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Shade Trees, Street Trees, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes