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What’s Blooming in Paradise: Silver Trumpet Tree (Tabebuia aurea)

By Staff | Apr 8, 2015

Silver Trumpet Tree (Tabebuia aurea). Anita Force Marshall

First impression: Trumpets of windsor yellow blooms exploding with color. What a large tortuous tree shaped canopy and deeply grooved silvery gray trunk. Its winding and weaving shape looks like it has been around since the time of kings and dragons. Its loss of leaves adds to the days of Camelot look, which draws your eye in for a second glance-alot.

Follow the shower of shimmering blossoms in full bloom at the Botanical Gardens of the Sanibel Moorings.

Upon further investigation: Our Tabebuia star hails from South America and is kin to around 100 different species of varying sized shrubs and trees. Here in paradise we have several tree varieties in yellow, purple and pink. Our yellow blooming aurea has the habit of leaf loss about one month before she starts to amass her beautiful blossoms. The dense leaves singularly are matte greenish gray and oblong. These soft leaves are a great contrast to the gnarly, deep grooved bark of shimmery gray.

What’s really cool is as the trumpet tree matures, its bark develops a cork-like texture. Maturity also brings the tree to exaggerate zigging and zagging of the trunk, branches and stems. This labyrinth of a canopy makes our star a great day-dreaming-the-day-away tree.

Okay, I can’t discount the flowers. Oh, yes, when they bloom everyone is snapping pictures. Sunny yellow funnel formed petals with a large flared lip in profusion covering the tree above and the ground below. This small flower has a short blooming period, so pollination is important. 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/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 flower’s carpel. Violapollination!

Silver Trumpet Tree (Tabebuia aurea). Anita Force Marshall

Isn’t Mother Nature the smartest lady you know? Flowering is very intense in the spring and less intense in the summer. Mature size is 40 feet with a natural asymmetry growth habit and canopy. It is great for our tropical climate, salt, and drought tolerant, with little known pest and disease. If you are a connoisseur of flowering trees, this one has your name on it!


* Pretty flowers with lots of blossoms.

* Drought tolerant.

* Attractive when blooming or non-blooming.

* Easy to maintain/prune.

* Salt tolerant.

* Looks better with age.

* Brings out your hidden medieval dreams.

* A very unique tree texture and silhouette.

* Flowers bring in the bees.


* Is brittle in strong winds.

* Non-fragrant.

* Flowers bring in the bees.

* Will tire of telling neighbors what the trees name is.

* Non-native.

Conclusion: Where is the knight in shining armor or the damsel in distress? Just look under the silvery tree with the days of ole golden trumpets, who knows whom thee will find, in a tropical eye-catching garden.

Don’t wanna miss this bloomer!