Spring isn’t just the time of Azaleas, plums and Camelias. If you’ve driven around town this time of year you might have come across a few yards that have a medium sized tree that is covers in large yellow tubular flowers. These are known as Tabebuia Trees, Yellow Trumpet trees or Trees of Gold. These are tropical trees that are at the very northern edge of their range here in Gainesville (Leu Botanical Gardens in Orlando has tons of them) and they are not your traditional deciduous trees. Deciduous describes when a plant drops all of its leaves for winter and leafs out again in spring, like Red Maples. Tabebuias keep their leaves until its time to flower, when it drops all of its leaves at once and is followed directly thereafter by their floral display.
This long lead-in brings me to our own version of this tree in the Rainforest. However, never ones to be like everyone else, our tree features pink flowers instead of yellow ones. In fact, technically, its not even a Tabebuia, as the genus has been split in recent years. What you see blooming in the Butterfly Rainforest right now is Handroanthus impetiginosus or the Pink Trumpet Tree. Before long it will also drop all of its flowers and leaf out again for another year, so don’t miss out on seeing this beautiful tree before we have to spend a week sweeping up all those fallen flowers.
Florida Museum photos by Ryan Fessenden.