Tabebuia

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Nearly 100, see text

Tabebuia is a neotropical genus of about 100 species[1] in the tribe Tecomeae of the family Bignoniaceae. The species range from northern Mexico and southern Florida south to northern Argentina, including the Caribbean islands of Hispaniola (Dominican Republic, Haiti) and Cuba. The generic name is derived from words used for the trees by the indigenous peoples of Brazil.[2]

Well-known common names include Ipê, Poui, trumpet trees and pau d'arco.

Contents

Description

They are large shrubs or trees growing to 5 to 50 m (16 to 160 ft.) tall depending on the species; many species are dry-season deciduous but some are evergreen. The leaves are opposite pairs, complex or palmately compound with 3–7 leaflets.[1]

Tabebuia is a notable flowering tree. The flowers are 3 to 11 cm (1 to 4 in.) wide and are produced in dense clusters. They present a cupular calyx campanulate to tubular, truncate, bilabiate or 5-lobed. Corolla colors vary between species ranging from white, light pink, yellow, lavender, magenta, or red. The outside texture of the flower tube is either glabrous or pubescent.[1]

The fruit is a dehiscent pod, 10 to 50 cm (4 to 20 in.) long, containing numerous—in some species winged—seeds.[1] These pods often remain on the tree through dry season until the beginning of the rainy season.

Uses and ecology

Species in this genus are important as timber trees. The wood is used for furniture, decking, and other outdoor uses. It is increasingly popular as a decking material due to its insect resistance and durability. By 2007, FSC-certified ipê wood had become readily available on the market, although certificates are occasionally forged.[3]

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