Monday, July 19, 2010

Yellow Poinciana (Peltophorum pterocarpum)

After a long, cold winter (for Florida) we are being rewarded in the landscape. The Yellow Poinciana is in full bloom in parts of Pinellas County, and they are spectacular. Large clusters of bold yellow flowers are blanketing the trees. They are like a ray of sunshine in the tree canopy. The flowers also have a pleasant smell that is often described as grape-like.

The Yellow Poinciana is not native to Florida, but is cold hardy in our area. This tree makes a great shade tree or specimen tree if you have lots of space, but care should be taken not to plant it too close to structures, driveways, or sidewalks. They have a shallow root system that can be destructive to hardscape and also increase the tree’s susceptibility to being blown over in severe wind storms. A Yellow Poinciana may grow as tall as 50’ with a crown spread of 35’-50’, so be sure to give this tree plenty of space. In the right location the Yellow Poinciana can be quite the show stopper!

IFAS Fact Sheet on Yellow Poinciana

Photos courtesy of Jane Morse, Pinellas County Commercial Horticulture Agent.

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