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What's Blooming in Paradise: Golden Shower Tree

August 10, 2012
Anita Force Marshall , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

First impression: Delicate-cascading-exotic sunny yellow blooms that are hidden until you actually stand right under this gorgeous tropical trees canopy. Looking up the leaves are large, draping and a lovely olive green color. Cigar shaped, long chocolate brown seed pods peek thru everywhere. Sulfur butterflies are dancing in and out of the canopy. Follow the butterflies; they will lead the way to the showering blossoms in full bloom at the Botanical Gardens of the Sanibel Moorings.

Upon further investigation: The Cassia family includes many of our drop dead gorgeous flowering trees. Our star is among 30 different species that can bloom yellow, pink or red. We have a very mature, large tree whose natural height can reach 45 feet tall. The crown has a natural spreading habit, which from a distance draws my eye to it. Even without blossoms, it's an attractive tree with oversized greenish yellow leaves. The contrasting light gray to brown striated bark gives our tree lots of texture. The dimensional bark looks like a potter has dry stacked its design out of clay. I detect a slight fragrance from the pendulous, grape like racemes (18 inches long) adorned with clusters of vivid lemon yellow flowers. It's hard to imagine that these humongous floral displays start with five small buttercup shaped petals adorned with a center green curly filament. Hundreds of these flowers collectively make up the supersized blossoms which remind me of chandeliers you might see in an oriental garden party. I can't help but notice the long, skinny brown seed pods all over that are about 15 inches in length. These seed pods have hundreds of seed encased in them. It is a semi-deciduous tree, drought tolerant, and does well in full sun. A non native-non invasive species, whose origin is from Asia. Oodles of large Orange Barred Sulphur butterflies are fluttering all around it. Cassias are their host plants-- aka plants on which butterflies lay their eggs--adding to the dimensional beauty. Not surprising is that the Golden Shower Tree is on of the top favorites for beauty in the over 500 Cassia species options. It is the royal flower of the Thailand, where month long festivals are performed when it blooms in the spring thru summer. Just stand under its bountiful blossoms, close your eyes and imagine yourself somewhere tropical and exotic with nothing to do, except to admire this memorable beauty.

Pros: Hundreds of flowers with lots of blossoms- Drought tolerant - Attractive when blooming or non blooming Host plant (damage minimal turns into butterflies) Full bloom will easily put you in a great mood - Easy to maintain/prune Non Invasive - Salt tolerant Show stopper in the garden.

Article Photos

Golden Shower Tree

Cons: Daily clean up leaves/flowers which are messy and numerous - Non Native status - Re think/tolerate caterpillars and nibbled leaves - Looses limbs in strong winds- Seed pods are sticky and smell May have a tendency to daydream and lose track of time

Conclusion: Leave your umbrellas at home, you won't get wet under this aquatic-like floral display dripping golden shimmery sunshine in a tropical eye catching garden location.

Don't wanna miss this bloomer!

 
 

 

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