Noticeable for its tulip-shaped brightly coloured flowers the African Tulip Tree (Spathodea campanulata) is a slender tree which can grow up to twenty metres tall, but can also be kept smaller to provide wonderful colour in gardens due to their large red flowers.
These, which contrast beautifully with the trees heavy dark green foliage, act as reservoirs for rain and dew which attracts birds to gardens – an additional bonus to planting this tree. This, along with the excellent cover the tree provides, makes them good trees for shaded seating areas. Though the tree does best in well-drained deep loam it can survive in poor soil and through drought, another useful consideration in urban gardens.
Known in Thai as Kae Sad these trees are extremely popular in the country as ornamentals but need to be kept trimmed so as to not overwhelm other plants as they expand rapidly and aggressively. It should be noted that this tree’s pollen is toxic to bees and has been classified as a pest in a number of countries where it has been introduced.