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Fernandoa magnifica

Snake Tree

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Fernandoa magnifica (Snake Tree) is small to large with a single or often multiple trunks. Its gray to pale brown bark is rough and has fissures with pale conical spines. Additionally, the leaves are opposite, dark green, shiny, pinnate with 4 to 7 pairs of leaflets and a terminal leaflet, and up to 10 inches long. Flowers are borne in bunches on short stalks when the tree has dropped it leaves; these are spectacular, bell-shaped, up to 4 inches in diameter, bright orange-red to pink with a yellow center. The showy blooms give the plant its species name.

Furthermore, the fruits are long slender pale brown capsules, flattened, spirally twisted (snake-like) and 1 to 2 feet long. The roots reportedly have medicinal use; the wood is used to make tools and as fuel. Propagated by seed, this tree prefers sandy well-drained soils. It is an endangered species in its native area of Africa because of its habitat loss. Fernandoa magnifica (Snake Tree) is a very is a very unusual, exotic and outstanding specimen plant, suitable for parks or gardens.

Snake tree as other exotic trees are typically of greater interest to the home gardener for the simple reason that they are different from the local populations of native trees. As such they generate greater attention because they may not be familiar to the average tree lover.

Additional information

Common Name

Snake Tree

Florida Native

No, Not FL Native


East Africa

Flowering Season


Salt Tolerance

Low Salt Tolerance

Drought Tolerance

Moderate to High Drought Tolerance

Growth Rate

Moderate to Fast Growth Rate

Light Requirements

Full Sun

Plant Type


Flower Color