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Spathodea campanulata P. Beauv.Author(s): K.F. Connor; J.K. Francis
Source: In: Vozzo, J.A., ed. Tropical Tree Seed Manual. Agric. Handbook 721. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 716-718.
Publication Series: Agricultural Handbook
Station: Southern Research Station
PDF: View PDF (165.27 KB)
DescriptionS. campanulata is a medium-sized tree that commonly reaches a height of 21 m; however, in some parts of West Africa, it may reach 30 m. Heart and butt rots are common in trees older than 20 to 25 years that have suffered mechanical or fire damage. In Hawaii, large trees form narrow butresses at the base. It grows naturally in the secondary forests in the high forest zone and in the deciduous, transition, and savanna forests of equatorial Africa. Its native range extends along the Pacific Coast of Africa from Ghana to Angola and inland across the humid center of the continent to southern Sudan and Uganda. The species has been successfully planted outside its natural range; throughout the humid tropics, its large brilliant flame-orange flowers have made it one of the most popular flowering ornamentals. Planting near roads or buildings is not advised, since the trees become hollow with age and have shallow root systems.. The wood of this fast-growing species is light, soft, and little used. Leaves are large, 31 to 61 cm (1 to 2 ft) long and are composed of 5 to 19 leaflets. The 10 cm long, irregular-bell-shaped, bright red-orange flowers occur on each terminal raceme on trees as young as 3 to 4 years of age. Yellow-flowering trees have also been reported. The oddly flattened flowers have a light brown, curved, pointed calix and 4 pale yellow stamens with brown anthers. Flowering time varies, depending on location. Unopened flower buds contain water which can be squirted out when the buds are pricked with a pin. One to four boat-shaped green to brown pods, 15 to 25 cm long, usually develop from each flower cluster. Seeds mature 5 months after flowering. The wind-dispersed seeds are lightbrown, light weight and surrounded by a membranous wing.
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CitationConnor, K.F.; Francis, J.K. 2002. Spathodea campanulata P. Beauv. In: Vozzo, J.A., ed. Tropical Tree Seed Manual. Agric. Handbook 721. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 716-718.
KeywordsSpathodea campanulata, African tulip tree, species description, seed research
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