Chance to see rare tree in flower
12 January 2012
Experts at RHS Garden Wisley, in Surrey, have succeeded in encouraging a rare pink trumpet tree, Tabebuia impetiginosa, to flower profusely in the garden for the first time.
The pink trumpet tree, or pau d’arco, meaning “bow stick”, is a tree native to Central and South America which, in its natural habitat, can grow as large as 150ft tall. Pink and purple flowers bloom from its branches after the dry season, and the inner bark of the tree is used in folk remedies. Although not scientifically proven as a remedy, the bark has become so popular that the species is considered endangered.
The tree can only be grown under glass in this country, and there are very few specimens in the UK. Known to staff at RHS Garden Wisley as “sleeping beauty”, the 15ft tree in the Glasshouse at RHS Wisley has never produced more than a few flowers, but this year has been coaxed into full bloom creating a real spectacle.
Peter Jones, RHS Glasshouse team leader, says: “We’ve had the tree for five years, but have never had a display like this before. In its natural habitat, the tree will flower most prolifically after a rest period during the dry season, and this year we’ve managed to re-create that effect at Wisley. Hopefully the tree will stay in flower for at least another 10 days, and visitors will have the chance to see something really exceptional.”