It's late winter in Orlando, Florida (Zone 9B) and this gorgeous golden trumpet tree is just beginning to bloom.
Near or far, the blossoms are beautiful at any range.
The spectacular golden trumpet tree can get up to 80 ft (24 m) tall in its native habitat, but is usually smaller, maybe 30-40 ft (9-10 m) tall, in cultivation. It has an open, spreading crown that makes for a lovely shade tree. The bright yellow trumpet shaped flowers are about 2 in (5 cm) long and arranged in compact clusters. They resemble the flowers of the closely related yellow elder, Tecoma stans. The flowers are produced in late winter and early spring, just as the old leaves drop and before the new leaves begin emerging. Thus the leafless tree is completely yellow and quite a showstopper. The sweetly fragrant flowers last for a month or more, and when they fall they decorate the ground beneath with a yellow carpet. The leaves are palmately compound with five leaflets. They are up to 10 in (25 cm) across, and arranged opposite each other on the stems. The leaves are quite attractive in their own right. The seeds are borne in linear beanlike capsules around 10 in (25 cm) in length. The dangling pods look a lot like those of the closely related North American catalpa tree (Catalpa bignonioides).
Location Tabebuia chrysantha is native to Central America and northern South America. This and other species of Tabebuia are grown extensively as ornamental lawn and street trees in subtropical and tropical climates throughout the New World. In recent years, golden trumpet tree has increasingly become a beautiful addition to the already beautiful flora in the Tampa and Orlando areas of Central Florida.
Golden Tabebuia grows well in sandy soils and is quite tolerant of salt spray. Light: Golden trumpet tree will reward best in full sun. Moisture: Once established, golden trumpet tree is drought tolerant, but be sure to water regularly for the first several weeks after planting. Hardiness: USDA Zones 9B-11. Golden trumpet tree is marginal in zone 9B, usually sprouting back when killed to the ground by a light freeze. Propagation: The seeds will germinate readily if planted as soon as the pods crack open. Semi-ripe stem cuttings can be rooted; best results are obtained with bottom heat.
The golden trumpets are especially elegant displayed against a bright blue late winter sky.
With its open, rounded shape, moderate size and spectacular floral display, the golden trumpet tree makes an outstanding specimen tree in the home landscape. Leafless when in its glorious bloom, golden trumpet tree is quite a sight, and always attracts attention. They are relatively tolerant of salt spray and are often used as street trees in coastal environments. Golden trumpet tree is commonly planted as a shade tree in tropical lawns.
There are more than a hundred species of Tabebuia, and many have been introduced into the South Florida horticultural trade. Exact identification to species is often difficult, there are many synonyms, and a lot of confusion exists in the literature and at the nurseries. Among those grown in South Florida are Tabebuia cristate, T. chrysotricha, T. caraiba (silver trumpet tree), T. donnell-smithii (aka Cybistax donnel-smithii, primavera), T. argentea (another silver trumpet tree), T. rosea (rosy trumpet tree), T. umbellata (yellow trumpet tree), T. serratifolia (yellow poui or Guayacan polvillo), and T. heterophylla (pink trumpet tree or pink poui), to name just a few.