Who needs New England in October when you can enjoy a whole host of flowering trees that provide bright bursts of color year-round? Florida may lack the well-defined seasons that turn deciduous trees like maples and aspen into technicolor fall delights. But IFAS (the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agriculture Services—the state extension service with a Sarasota office that offers all kinds of free plant-related advice) lists 38 flowering trees that can be enjoyed in South Florida. If you’re new to our area, here are four with which to acquaint yourself.
A drive around downtown Sarasota’s bayfront at certain times of the year is even more glorious because the trees that line it are abloom with vibrant yellow flowers. This is the City of Sarasota’s official tree, which people often misidentify as the "gold tree." In fact, the official name is the silver trumpet tree (Tabebuia aurea), so named for its silvery bark. Whatever you call it, it’s a gorgeous sign of spring.
The gold tree’s cousin, the purple trumpet tree (Tabebuia impetiginosa) can reach 12 to 20 feet high, with its crown of showy purple trumpet-shaped blooms appearing in late winter and early spring.
You can’t miss the royal poinciana (Delonix regia); it grows up to 40 feet high with a majestic 60-foot crown and a trunk that exceed 50 inches in diameter, and sports vivid reddish-orange blooms from May through July.
The bottlebrush tree (Callistemon citrinus), is actually a shrub that grows up to 15 feet in height. Originally from Australia, it pro-
duces red spiky flowers that uncannily resemble bottlebrushes intermittently throughout the year, but primarily from March through late summer.