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Spathodea campanulata (Red African Tulip) is extensively grown and appreciated in the tropics for its colorful blooms; but it has a reputation as one of the worst invasive species. There is but one species of this tree. Native to the tropical dry forests of Africa, it is a medium to large upright tree with large branches reaching a height of 75 feet or more and has an open, rounded to irregular crown. And it tends to develop a slightly buttressed trunk with a light gray warty bark.
Evergreen leaves are green, pinnate, opposite, made up of 5-19 oval leaflets and overall 1-2 feet long. Flowers are scarlet red, borne at the branch tips and are crinkled 2-inch long bell-shaped fuzzy buds filled with water.
Furthermore, the fruits are dry, hard elongated pods 6-12 inches long; seeds are used for propagation. Flowers and fruits attract insects and birds. A multi-use tree, its seeds are edible, various parts have reported medicinal use and the wood is good for carving. This tree grows well in a wide range of soils, has no major pests and diseases but is frost sensitive.
In landscaping, Spathodea campanulata (Red African Tulip) is popular for its colorful flowers, which appear a few at a time. It is a good shade tree, best suited for large open areas of lawns or parks.