Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Spathodea Campanulata: The Invasive African Tulip Tree


A low angle view of a bright orange African tulip-tree flower (Spathodea campanulata) from below. The flower is framed by wires and illuminated by the sunlight with a clear blue sky as the background. Click image to license. © Evan's Studio, 2018.

What is Spathodea campanulata?

Spathodea campanulata is a flowering tree also known as the African tulip tree. The tree has vibrant orange-red flowers and is monotypic - meaning that is the only species in the genus Spathodea. Spathodea campanulata is native to tropical African forests. The tree is often grown in non-native locations like the one pictured above, which was photographed in Jalisco, Mexico. Spathodea campanulata is part of the Bignoniaceae family, which includes several other ornamental trees. 

How high does Spathodea campanulata grow?

 The African tulip tree can grow close to 80 feet in height.

Why is Spathodea campanulata considered harmful?

Since the African tulip tree is considered an invasive non-native species, it can crowd out native plants. Although beautiful, the plant's nectar can be toxic to bees.

What is another name for Spathodea campanulata?

Besides the African tulip tree, Spathodea campanulata is also known as the flame of the forest.