African Tulip Tree
Flame of the Forest
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon:
- Evergreen tree, usually to 40-50 ft (12-24 m) high, rounded crown, wide spreading, often dense. Bark is pale, grey-brown and smooth when young, but with age it turns grey-black, scaly and cracked vertically and horizontally. Leaves opposite, compound, large, to 40 cm long, odd-pinnate, often 11-15 oblong leaflets, each 5-10 cm long, Flowers arise from velvety, brown-green, kidney-shaped buds in terminal clusters above the canopy. (The flower buds contains water and they are often used by children as "mini squirt-guns".) Blooms are large, cup-shaped, and brilliant orange-red, sometimes yellow, 10-12 cm long and 7 cm wide, with crinkled margins. Fruit (capsule) is oblong, about 16 cm long and 4 cm wide, tapered at the apex, woody; seeds are oblong and winged.
- Sun, good drainage, moist soil.
- Hardy to USDA Zone (10) 11 (tropical) Native to western Africa, it was first described by Europeans in 1787. It is now planted extensively as an ornamental tree throughout the tropics.
- Caution: "It has been introduced throughout the tropics, and, has naturalised in many parts of the Pacific. It favours moist habitats and will grow best in sheltered tropical areas. It is invasive in Hawaii, Fiji, Guam, Vanuatu, the Cook Islands and Samoa, and is a potential invader in several other tropica." A yellow flowering, seedless, cultivar is available; it is not an invasive threat.
- Spathodea: from the Greek, spathe and -odes, like, an allusion to the spathe- or boat-like calyx. campanulata: bell-shaped, the flowers.