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What’s Bloomin’: Plant Subject: Yellow elder (Tecoma stans)

By Staff | Oct 14, 2010

First impression

Sunny, yellow funnel shaped flowers with veins of crimson dappling their throats. They are breathtaking by being grouped in a cluster to form the appearance of a super large blossom. Bean like seed pods in varying shades of gray to brown hang in bunches under the flowers. Light green pinnate leaves are an eye catching color contrast. I notice the twig like appearances of the multi-stemmed gray trunks. My nose detects a faint vanilla fragrance and I see pollinators all around. Wow, a profusion of yellow trumpets announcing their arrival, you can see this heralding bloom at the Botanical Gardens of the Sanibel Moorings.

Upon further investigation

Yellow elder is very versatile, and can be grown as a densely branched shrub or small tree. It’s one of those in-betweeners — you decide the height by pruning. Left on its own, the mature height is around 40 feet tall. The plant’s habit is a wide, bushy shrub; I routinely shape and form its body because this plant is a fast grower and can get leggy. It is evergreen, unless it is hit by a really cold spell (28 degrees fahrenheit), then its leaves drop. It will return when the temperatures rise. Our star can be cut to the ground for rejuvenation in the early spring or pruned to promote new flushes of flowers. I appreciate the translucent soft green color of its leaves. We gardeners are always looking for added dimension in the garden and any color except medium plant green is one way of achieving this. Fortunately, the large sunny funnel shaped flowers occur almost year round and are so abundant they droop from their weight. Look closely for the etched deep crimson veins inside their flowers. These color cues are guides for our pollinators. The nectar guides show pollinators where to look for food and nectar. Some nectar guides may be visible only under ultraviolet light, of which bees and insects can see. The guides will lead them to the sweet reward and their pollen laden bodies to the flowers carpels. Viola — pollination! Isn’t Mother Nature the smartest lady you know? Yellow elder will grow on a wide variety of soils and sand. Once you see the abundant seed pods, you will agree this plant can be very fertile in reproduction. It’s long string bean-like pods hang in multitudes of vertical clusters. As they mature they will turn brown and split open to release flat oblong seeds with transparent wings on each end. A great way to control them is to prune the seed pods off. Aggressive, abundant seed pods not supervised can turn your garden into a mono-plant in the blink of your eye. I really like this variety of elder in the garden for its maintainable reproduction and never ending blooms. You will appreciate this plants easy nature and lack of pests/disease. Its made for our tropical climate due to its drought tolerance and requires full sun. It is a non native species, whose hails from Central and South America. Yellow elder has been used for a variety of purposes in herbal medicine, some for treating diabetes and digestive problems. Interesting fact: Yellow elder is the official flower of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Who knew?

Pros

Oodles of blooms most of the year, does well in sandy soil, likes full sun, easy to maintain and prune, easily propagated by seeds, versatile shrub or tree, pollinator attractor, salt tolerance, great for a cottage garden look, gives garden dimension with light green leaf color when not in bloom, drought tolerant, bring out your inner researcher and find a new herbal cure for diabetes and become rich, easy care

Cons

Brittle limbs not good for high winds, fast grower, pollinator attractor, non-native, seed pods can be plentiful and messy, get sued for bogus herbal remedy, cold sensitive, needs to be watched for aggressive seed pods

Conclusion

Can you hear the golden trumpets? If not, come a little closer and follow the commotion and revelry to our garden in paradise. Don’t wanna miss this bloomer!

What’s Bloomin’: Plant Subject: Yellow elder (Tecoma stans)

By Staff | Oct 14, 2010

First impression

Sunny, yellow funnel shaped flowers with veins of crimson dappling their throats. They are breathtaking by being grouped in a cluster to form the appearance of a super large blossom. Bean like seed pods in varying shades of gray to brown hang in bunches under the flowers. Light green pinnate leaves are an eye catching color contrast. I notice the twig like appearances of the multi-stemmed gray trunks. My nose detects a faint vanilla fragrance and I see pollinators all around. Wow, a profusion of yellow trumpets announcing their arrival, you can see this heralding bloom at the Botanical Gardens of the Sanibel Moorings.

Upon further investigation

Yellow elder is very versatile, and can be grown as a densely branched shrub or small tree. It’s one of those in-betweeners — you decide the height by pruning. Left on its own, the mature height is around 40 feet tall. The plant’s habit is a wide, bushy shrub; I routinely shape and form its body because this plant is a fast grower and can get leggy. It is evergreen, unless it is hit by a really cold spell (28 degrees fahrenheit), then its leaves drop. It will return when the temperatures rise. Our star can be cut to the ground for rejuvenation in the early spring or pruned to promote new flushes of flowers. I appreciate the translucent soft green color of its leaves. We gardeners are always looking for added dimension in the garden and any color except medium plant green is one way of achieving this. Fortunately, the large sunny funnel shaped flowers occur almost year round and are so abundant they droop from their weight. Look closely for the etched deep crimson veins inside their flowers. These color cues are guides for our pollinators. The nectar guides show pollinators where to look for food and nectar. Some nectar guides may be visible only under ultraviolet light, of which bees and insects can see. The guides will lead them to the sweet reward and their pollen laden bodies to the flowers carpels. Viola — pollination! Isn’t Mother Nature the smartest lady you know? Yellow elder will grow on a wide variety of soils and sand. Once you see the abundant seed pods, you will agree this plant can be very fertile in reproduction. It’s long string bean-like pods hang in multitudes of vertical clusters. As they mature they will turn brown and split open to release flat oblong seeds with transparent wings on each end. A great way to control them is to prune the seed pods off. Aggressive, abundant seed pods not supervised can turn your garden into a mono-plant in the blink of your eye. I really like this variety of elder in the garden for its maintainable reproduction and never ending blooms. You will appreciate this plants easy nature and lack of pests/disease. Its made for our tropical climate due to its drought tolerance and requires full sun. It is a non native species, whose hails from Central and South America. Yellow elder has been used for a variety of purposes in herbal medicine, some for treating diabetes and digestive problems. Interesting fact: Yellow elder is the official flower of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Who knew?

Pros

Oodles of blooms most of the year, does well in sandy soil, likes full sun, easy to maintain and prune, easily propagated by seeds, versatile shrub or tree, pollinator attractor, salt tolerance, great for a cottage garden look, gives garden dimension with light green leaf color when not in bloom, drought tolerant, bring out your inner researcher and find a new herbal cure for diabetes and become rich, easy care

Cons

Brittle limbs not good for high winds, fast grower, pollinator attractor, non-native, seed pods can be plentiful and messy, get sued for bogus herbal remedy, cold sensitive, needs to be watched for aggressive seed pods

Conclusion

Can you hear the golden trumpets? If not, come a little closer and follow the commotion and revelry to our garden in paradise. Don’t wanna miss this bloomer!