The Primavera tree of the genus Tabebuia is also called Ipe or Trumpet tree and blossoms shortly after the pink Amapa tree (see below). Both are such gorgeous harbingers of spring it’s hard to decide which I like more. This yellow specimen is in front of the Vivero Villanueva beside the La Colonia Pemex gas station.

The 3 to 11cm wide blossoms remind me of petunias, thousands of them! The seeds form in pods that are between 10 to 50cm long. The 5 to 50m trees are dry season deciduous with some species being evergreen. Locally we see these ornamental trees in full bloom now. The bees enjoy it as a honey tree and some species of hummingbird enjoy its nectar too. Traditionally used by indigenous Amazon peoples for making hunting bows, thus too the name “Pau d’arco” (bow stick).


The Amapa tree (Tabebuia impetiginosa) with its gorgeous pink blossoms has local names like Pink Ipe, Pink Lapacho and Lapacho Negro.

Known too as Pau d’arco and Taheebo, it is these names that sound most familiar to us as this species has traditionally been used medicinally for many purposes. We see it in health food stores most commonly as a tea. It grows from northern Mexico to northern Argentina, can attain a height of 30m, and it too flowers after the leaves are shed. The winged seeds are formed in a capsule. Bees and hummingbirds use this tree as a food source as well.

I was told that both trees provide excellent wood for fine furniture making and each are insect / fungal resistant. The added bonus is they fare well in our salty coastal air. Amapa wood is obscura – meaning darker while the Primavera is madera blanca, a lighter colored wood.

by Tosia Archer

View more plants in bloom under the Flora & Fauna category.

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