Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tecoma stans

Tecoma stans is a yellow flowered shrub or small tree that blooms throughout the warm months of the year. The trumpet-shaped flowers are two inches in length and nearly two inches across. Branched flower spikes are clustered on the ends of new growth, and hold several dozen buds that open in succession. The blooms have a light fragrance up close, and attract Sulphur butterflies.
Leaves are pinnately-compound with serrated margins.
This species comes in several different varieties. Tecoma stans var. stans, known as common yellow elder, grows up to 25 feet tall with multiple trunks. It is native to Central and South America, and is evergreen or semi-deciduous, depending on the winter temperature. It is reliably hardy to around 28°F, but will come back from the roots after temperatures in the low 20s F. This is the variety pictured here. At 26°F, mine are semi-deciduous, with no dieback in slightly sheltered locations. The plant has a somewhat open growth habit, but shrubs can be kept pruned for a fuller appearance.
Arizona yellow bells (T. stans var. angustata) comes from the Chihuahuan Desert in Texas and New Mexico. It is a deciduous shrub that grows to 10 feet in height, and is hardy to 10°F. It can be grown as a perennial as far north as USDA Zone 7.
'Gold Star Esperanza' is a cultivar that is grown as an annual and reaches three to four feet in height.

Flowering of all varieties is best in full sun, and the plants prefer a well-drained location. In South Florida, T. stans will sometimes naturalize in dry areas. It is considered invasive on some Pacific islands.

The sturdy twigs are used to make hunting bows and the wood of thicker trunks is used in construction. The leaves are used in folk medicines to treat diabetes, stomach pain, syphilis and intestinal worms.


FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Thank you for this info and the wonderful pictures. I have this as a small plant still as I grew it from seed.


Andrea said...

Hi Jim, here where our temps are now 36.2C and increasing, those T stans flower whole year round.

Unknown said...

Even the foliage is pretty. Would not work here, but maybe in the greenhouse if I paid attention. We keep having arctic blasts down to 14F and lower. The figs have survived, but I have lost roses and other shrubs. Ah well PNW blues. At least we are not having a drought or tornadoes.

Nell Jean said...

Esperanza! Mine dies to the ground in winter but comes back faithfully in zone 8b. Right now it is about 18" tall but will reach 6 feet by midsummer with those glorious yellow bells.

I plant it with Caesalpinia pulcherrima and other tropical delights, all grown from seed.

Sandra Gardener said...

I have never seen this plant ! It's indeed beautiful !
What a helpful post!

Anonymous said...

We are cultivating this in Baja California, Mexico for the STICKS it produces. It's called Palo de Arco here and used much in rural areas for construction, furniture, etc. I'm starting a small plantation with 100 plants and we'll see how it goes. Anybody know about commercial growing of this wonderful shrub?

Gary said...

In South Texas (and probably in Mexico), this plant is known as Esperanza, which means "hope."
It is very popular as an ornamental plant here, and also grows wild (or naturalized?) on undeveloped land.

Grower Jim said...

That's probably the variety of Tecoma native to that region if it's growing wild. There are many cultivated varieties to choose from, all beautiful!