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The Caesalpinia Ferrea (Leopard Tree) is of moderate size, reaching 40 feet (12.19 m) in height in nature. The bark is the most attractive feature of the tree. It’s dark brown, off-white and green patterned bark forms patches, resembling the spots of a leopard. Moreover, the trunk is short, branching close to the base, and forms a broad, open, flat-topped crown. Also, the dense and durable wood is a substitute for Brazilian rosewood. It’s leaves are bipinnate, mid-green, oval and 6 to 7 inches (17.78 cm) long. New leaves have a rusty brown color.
Also, the yellow flowers are borne in terminal or axillary inflorescences. The bell-shaped lone blooms are tiny. In addition, the flat fruits are hard, brown pods with several seeds. You can propagate the Leopard tree from the seed. In cultivation, the tree prefers well-drained sandy soils; it is also frost sensitive. Importantly, it develops an aggressive root system so should not be planted close to buildings.
The Caesalpinia Ferrea (Leopard Tree) can be a shade tree, specimen tree or accent tree. Installation locations include parks or large gardens, along sidewalks and in above ground planters. It responds well to pruning and is a popular bonsai plant.