Weed Identification

Australia > > African Tulip Tree

African Tulip Tree

Spathodea campanulata

Family: Bignoniaceae.

Form: Tree

Origin: Native of tropical Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Inflorescences at end of branches, 810 cm long. Joined sepals (calyx) velvety. Flowers all year round although with marked peaks in cooler areas.

Description: Tree to 25 (rarely to 35) m high. Older trees buttressed at base. Bark on smaller branches with small white lenticels. Leaves to 20 (rarely to 70) cm long; leaflets leathery, elliptic to ovate; leaf stalk (to where leaflets arise) 615 cm long. Capsule woody, 1527 cm long, 3.57 cm wide, many seeded. Seeds flat, about 2 cm long, winged.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by leaves opposite or in whorls of 3, consisting of 719 leaflets with entire margins, mostly 716 cm long and 37 cm wide; joined petals (corolla) orange to scarlet, tubular, 815 cm long.

Dispersal: Spread by wind-dispersed seed.

Capsules, Southport, Qld, April

Notes: Widely planted as an ornamental and shade tree in tropical and sub-tropical areas. Young trees are frost sensitive. Reported spreading in rainforest near Darwin and in northern coastal Queensland. On Pacific islands it invades abandoned agricultural land and closed forest, particularly in moist and wet areas. Various plant parts are used for medicinal purposes in its native and introduced ranges. Now naturalised in many tropical areas around the world.


    Bignoniaceae (Tribe Tecomeae), Flora Neotropica Monograph 25(2). A. Gentry, 1992, pages 118120. Protabase, the information base of PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa) http://database.prota.org/search.htm, entry by B. Bosch, 2002.

Flowers & leaves with 719 leaflets, Innisfail, Qld, Dec

Trees grow to 25 m, Innisfail, Qld, Dec

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card T49

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.


Australia > > African Tulip Tree


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