Purple Trumpet Tree, Pink Lapacho (Trumpet Creeper Family)
Tabebuia impetiginosa (Bignoniaceae)
Origin: Mexico to Argentina
The genus Tabebuia is probably the most loved and cultivated of the seasonally-dry blooming American trees. Impetiginosa’s wood is rich in tannins and a popular source for beams in construction, and is also used medicinally in a tea. The trees have been over-harvested and are endangered in the wild, but are becoming a popular street tree in urban landscapes throughout the sub-tropics. Here in Sarasota they are abundant, and because of their relative cold-hardiness we are seeing more and more of them.
Going deciduous in the winter (our dry season in Florida), early spring signals an explosion of pink to purple trumpet-shaped flowers with a yellow throat. In order to attain maximum blooming, achieved through profuse leaf drop, established trees should not be irrigated, especially in the fall and winter months. Here at the gardens we have two; a large one just south of the Hibiscus Garden, and a smaller one just south of the Lofty Fig, number 14 on our visitor map.
Photography: Bruce Holst.
Text: David Troxell.