Spathodea is a monotypic genus of flowering plants - with a single species, Spathodea campanulata, commonly known as the African tulip tree or Fountain tree or Flame-of-the-forest. African tulips are open and branched, evergreen trees of African forests.
African Tulips produce terminal clusters of beautiful blooms held above the foliage appearing in upturned whorls at the branch tips. A few at a time, the buds of the lowest tier bend outward and open into large bell-shaped orange-red flowers with a yellow border on the petals and four brown-anthered stamens in the center. They are followed by 5-10 in green brown fingerlike pods pointing upwards and outwards above the foliage.
Facts About African tulips
- The generic name comes from the Greek word, in reference to the spathe-like calyx.
- African tulip is native to tropical Africa.
- African tulip tree grows to about 7-25 m tall.
- African Tulip flower is a decorative tree, because of their beautiful red tulip-like flowers.
- African Tulip is also known as the fountain tree because of the water sealed in the flower buds, and if you were to slice it open, it would squirt out like a fountain.
- African Tulip flowers are especially adapted for hummingbird pollination.
Growing African tulips
Unfortunately, African Tulip is one of the most difficult trees to be recommended for residential or commercial landscapes because it can cause havoc with its rapid growth, shallow roots, weak branches and susceptibility to wind damage.
- The African tulip tree needs a full sun.
- Dig an area for the African tulip tree that is about 3 or 4 times the diameter of the container or rootball and the same depth as the container or rootball.
- The African tulip tree needs a well darained soil.
- Add a 3 inches layer of pinestraw, compost, or pulverized bark over backfilled area.
African tulips plant care
- Make sure plants are regularly watered.
- Leaf drop and plant death can occur with heavy infestations.
- Keep a watch on the undersides of the leaves since spider mites generally live there.