Flowering Trees

It makes sense that a person who loves flowers would also love flowering trees.  I definitely fit into that category.  Trees that have flowers tend to be small trees; at least, the ones I know about.  Doesn’t matter.  Ornamental is good.

birdofparadise2 Mexican Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia mexicana) is a small tree that can be kept trimmed to a bush shape.  That also makes it fuller.  It should have full sun, although mine is on the east side of the house and gets only morning sun.

birdofparadise4When it freezes, the Mexican Bird of Paradise will drop its foliage.  Because of space constraints, we cut the branched trunk back pretty severely.  This one is in a flower bed next to the house.  I don’t recommend that.  Who knew it would do so well and get so big?

birdofparadise5The leaves resemble those of a mesquite.  Its uniqueness are the yellow flowers with the long red stamens or as my granddaughter calls them – eyelashes.birdofparadise2In the heat of the summer, the tree is covered with the yellow blossoms.

desertwillow8One of my favorite flowering trees is the Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis).  This one was labeled Bubba Desert Willow.  Sounds real Texan.  It’s also called Desert Catalpa and is native to the far southwestern part of the state, which is extremely arid.

desertwillow3This Desert Willow I want to keep with multi-branched trunks.  The wood is so sinewy that the native Indians used it to make bows.

desertwillow7On the other side of the house is a Desert Willow that has one main trunk.  They can grow to 20 – 30 feet tall.

desertwillow4The flowers are spectacular with a deep rose or wine color.  Their shape is like that of an orchid.  They grow on the tips of new growth branches.

desertwillow6I have tried unsuccessfully to get a close up picture of a flower.  The wind blows their branches so much that every photo is blurred.

Desert Willow grows in dry washes in the wild.  When cultivated, it should not be over watered.

ratama4One of my new favorites is Ratama (Parkinsonia aculeata ) or a Texas Paloverde (cercidium texanum).  I’ve heard these two names used interchangeably.  But other people have told me they are two different trees.  Anyway, I can’t tell the difference because I’ve never seen them together.  Other names used are Jerusalem Thorn and Mexican Palo Verde.

My understanding is that this is not the same tree as the Blue Paloverde seen in Arizona.

ratamaThey are smallish trees that can grow to 25′ tall.  The bark is green, and the leaves are long and narrow and don’t really look much like leaves.

This Ratama was purchased in the spring a year ago. It made it through the winter last year.  I was relieved because this is pushing the northern boundary for them.

ratama2Their branches also sway in the wind all day long, so I’m pleased this photo came out as clear as it did.

Some trees provide shade and others are just for show.  If there’s room in a yard, I think both enhance the great outdoors.

“Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”       Cree Proverb

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