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DoTERRA with Melissa Group

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Anthony Cruz
Anthony Cruz

African Tulip High Quality

The African tulip tree flower produces large flamboyant reddish-orange flowers that have approximately five petals and are 8-15 cm long. The flowers are bisexual and zygomorphic. These are displayed in a terminal corymb-like raceme inflorescence. Its pedicel is approximately 6 cm long. This flower also has a yellow margin and throat. The pistil can be found at center of four stamens that is inserted on the corolla tube. This flower has a slender ovary that is superior and is two celled. The seeds of this tree are flat, thin, and broadly winged.

african tulip

A cousin to the rambunctious trumpet vine, African tulip tree tends to be invasive in tropical climates, such as Hawaii and southern Florida, where it forms dense thickets that interfere with native growth. It is less problematic in drier climates like southern California and central or northern Florida.

African tulip tree is indeed an impressive specimen with gigantic, reddish-orange or golden yellow trumpet-shaped flowers and huge, glossy leaves. It can reach heights of 80 feet (24 m.), but growth is usually limited to 60 feet (18 m.) or less with a width of about 40 feet (12m.). The flowers are pollinated by birds and bats and the seeds are scattered by water and wind.

As far as growing conditions, the tree tolerates shade but performs best in full sunlight. Similarly, although it is relatively drought tolerant, African tulip tree is happiest with plenty of moisture. Although it likes rich soil, it will grow in nearly any well-drained soil.

Newly planted African tulip trees benefit from regular irrigation. However, once established, the tree requires little attention. It is rarely bothered by pests or disease, but may temporarily shed its leaves during periods of severe drought.

African tulip trees should be pruned regularly because the branches, which tend to be brittle, break easily in harsh winds. For this reason, the tree should be planted away from structures or smaller trees that may be damaged.

Among the most beautiful of flowering trees, the African tulip tree comes from tropical Africa, where it reaches heights of 60 feet (18.3 meters) or more; in San Diego, they average 25 to 40 feet (7.6 to 12.3 meters) tall. When in bloom, the tree puts on a spectacular display, aglow with a profusion of stunning, orange-scarlet flowers.

A blooming African tulip tree clamors for attention, displaying clusters of showy, five-inch-long (13-centimeter-long) flowers that resemble frilly tulips. The bloom season, which depends on where the tree is planted, may last as long as five months. Fruits are 6- to 12-inch-long (15.2- to 30.5-centimeter-long) cigar-shaped pods that dry and harden. When they fall from the tree, they split into two boat-shaped halves and spill about 500 thin, flat seeds. The filmy wing that surrounds each small seed catches the wind and helps the seed disperse.

You might spot this exotic standout in urban and suburban landscapes where it has been introduced, including warm parts of the US, Australia, Central America, and some Pacific Islands. One cultivated variety bears flowers that are golden yellow. Although evergreen in their native tropical Africa, these trees are sensitive to cold, and may be cold-deciduous in cooler climates. They may also drop their leaves to survive very dry seasons. These trees do best in full sun, but outside of the tropics they rarely reach their full height. Limbs should be trimmed to prevent wind damage, as the wood of an African tulip tree is soft, bearing brittle stems, hollowing with age.

These trees are harvested for various commodities, including food and medicine. It is used for reforestation projects, for soil conservation, and as a crop for the production of plywood and charcoal. African tulip trees attract birds and other wildlife with their copious nectar and ability to hold rain and dew.

Mature leaves are deep green and glossy, but they start out coppery. African tulip trees have pinnate leaves: leaflets on each side of the midrib are 4 to 6 inches (10.2 to 15.2 centimeters) long. A single compound leaf can be 18 inches (45.7 centimeters) long.

Shade tolerance means a seedling can sprout in an intact, shaded forest, then invade and dominate the landscape. This contrasts with many other invasive species that depend on disturbances and light gaps to gain a foothold. African tulip invades either way.

Given that African tulip seedlings can germinate and grow with little sunlight, they can creep into undisturbed forests and take over, growing faster than surrounding plants and expanding their domain. That is exactly what has happened along the windward slopes of East Maui. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and to those who know, the pretty, bright orange flowers ascending the hills above Hāna represent a garish plague. Potentially replacing ʻōhiʻa, ʻōlapa, maile and other native plants. The higher they go, the more likely they are to affect native forests.

The trees grows to about 35 m, with spreading crown and slightly buttressed trunk (Photo 2). Leaves are compound, with 11-15 leaflets, up to 15 cm long, arranged in opposing pairs. Flowers occur in large dense clusters at the tips of branches (Photos 3&4). Individual flowers are enclosed in brownish boat-shaped sepals (about 5 cm long). The petals are reddish-orange, fused together and look somewhat like tulips (hence the name). Pollination is by birds, possibly bats. The seedpods are flattened, brown when mature and open releasing up to 500 light winged seeds (Photo 5).

However, negative impacts on biodiversity, as well as on agriculture and forestry, have been documented. For instance, in Fiji, Eastern Polynesia and some islands of the Bismarck Archipelago, Papua New Guinea, the tree grows aggressively, filling forest gaps through suckering and seed production allowing it to replace native hardwood species useful for building houses, canoes and other traditional wooden items. Further, African tulip trees are easily felled by storms, damaging homes, infrastructure, and people. The soft wood has little use, only for crates and shuttering.

A large tree with compound leaves arranged in pairs. Look for the characteristic 'tulip-like' red flowers at the tips of the branches, and the erect seed-pods splitting to release large numbers of wind-blown seeds.

CHEMICAL In Australia, the herbicides triclopyr, picloram and glyphosate are registered for use against African tulip tree. Triclopyr + picloram is used as a stump treatment, and triclopyr + picloram or triclopyr + glyphosate as stem injections. Alternatively, the herbicides can be painted on the base of the trees to a height of 30 cm from the ground. In Palau, undiluted triclopyr or glyphosate is poured into notches cut 2.5 cm deep into the cambium around the stem.

It has been said, that the African tulip tree is just one tree among many, its effect is not significant. I know of no other tree that flowers for such a long period, many months through the winter period, and most of the year in the tropics. That alone sets it in a league of its own. It is an attractive food source for the bees, at a time when there is not a lot of choice. The bees that are killed are the most experienced foragers, the scout bees, that look for sources of food for the colony. Because they do not get back to the colony, no warning can be developed, so the loss of bees will continue. In Brazil, it is enough to result in the deaths of colonies. Here that has not been documented, perhaps one day someone will do the research. What is for certain, it will result in a continuing loss of foraging bees.

Place the seeds in a shallow glass bowl, and cover them with lukewarm water. Soak the seeds for 48 hours, and then drain the water from the seeds. Growing an African tulip tree from seed is not difficult. However, either purchased or gathered seed germination is erratic, and approximately 50 percent of the small seeds will not germinate.

Scatter the African tulip tree seeds evenly over the surface of the soil and press down gently. Do not cover with additional soil, because the seeds require light to germinate. Using a spray bottle, mist the surface of the soil lightly with water. Cover each planting tray with a clear dome lid to retain moisture, and place the trays in a warm location. The trays should be located in an area with abundant light. Avoid direct sunlight, which can burn the tender young seedlings. Keep the tree seeds evenly moist by misting with water daily. The seeds germinate quickly, often as early as two weeks after planting.

Select the strongest seedlings for transplanting to a container for outdoor growing. African tulip trees may also be grown indoors in a sunny location. Plant the tender young seedlings, one to a pot. Use 8-inch pots to start your new African tulip tree seedlings. Transplant to larger pots as the plants mature. When a tree is approximately 2 feet tall, the potted plant may be moved to a sunny outdoor location.

A flowering African tulip tree (Spathodea campanulata) is sure to turn heads in in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 12, but this beauty is not without its problems. Dropped flowers pose a slippery hazard on sidewalks, and its roots sometimes damage sidewalks and driveways. Its surface-growing roots can also make the nearby lawn a bear to mow. To kill the roots of an African tulip tree, one or more strategies should work effectively in your landscape, especially if your tree is cut down.

Spray the lower 12 to 18 inches of bark of an African tulip tree that has a trunk that is 6 inches or less in diameter and has not been cut down. Wet the bark all around the trunk to the ground with an oil-soluble herbicide, such as a ready-to-use triclopyr product sold for this purpose. Perform this task when the bark is dry, and reapply in three to six months if the tree continues to put out new growth.

Brush the sawdust off the freshly cut stump of an African tulip tree. Wear protective clothing, such as gloves and long pants. Spray or use a disposable paintbrush to thoroughly wet the freshly cut stump with a ready-to-use product containing glyphosate or triclopyr. 041b061a72


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