Flowering Trees of SW Florida

We need a break form hurricane damage remediation. Some of these images and more were shown on previous postings. They are repeated here because many of these trees and flowers were damaged or lost during the hurricane Ian storm of 2022 and therefore are no longer available. We need a reminder of the past and promise of the future.

The freely available image is featured as the opener is copied from a Cindy Shuder-Sandine Facebook posting and attributed to a military reconnaissance photo. It shows hurricane Ian as it landfalls on Fort Myers beach 20 miles from where I live. It speaks a thousand words.

The flowers of the Bauhinia tree are stunningly beautiful with lavender petals and veiny traces of red made to attract the eyes of the beholder. The flower has male anthers full of pollen. In fact, in an ecstatic burst it releases its stamens full of thousands of pollen grains. The sensuous perfume attracts hummingbirds and bees. These hungry messengers dip into the sweet deep recesses of the flower and pick up the pollen and can carry it into the receptive flower of a female tree. In fact, it has its own female calix organelle within the same flower. It should be able to self-pollinate. But wait! The flowers bear no ova. It cannot reproduce sexually. It is baren. There will be no fertilized seeds. All that blossom is for enjoyment only. Most people who casually look at the gorgeous orchid like flower are unaware of the frustration of the tree which must propagate from cuttings at the whim of gardeners and lovers of the flowers. 

Hong Kong orchid tree (Bauhinia blakenia)

The flowering trees have many secrets from most people. Flowers of some trees may never be seen by seasonal residents. They may bloom during the hot and humid seasons. An example of this is the Flamboyant Royal Poinciana tree. It blooms in the summer when our population is much smaller than that of the tourist season. Of all flowering trees, it has the most breathtaking beauty of riotous red and orange blossom. 

Flamboyant Royal Poinciana, AKA Flame Tree
Flamboyant Royal Poincieana, yellow

Contrarily, some residents are unaware of the lack of some blooms during their absence. An example of this is the Golden Trumpet tree which shows its fertility in yellow colors for three weeks during spring break. The benefit of our climate is that it is tropical. The weather provides an opportunity to have a continuous parade of seasonal flowers in Florida. There is never a time when something is not blooming. 

Golden Trumpet (Tabebuia chryaotricha)
Pink Trumpet, (Yrebebuia heterophylia)

Through the years, resident and community efforts have enhanced our neighborhoods with many plants. The trees are the most outstanding because of their height and spread of their branches. They also hold that secret prize. In certain seasons they burst out with colors and shapes that are beyond wordy description. The images that were captured in these photographs are beautiful and pictures are indeed worth a thousand words. Beyond the visual impact they give us a breath of perfume and an earful of rustling music as their leaves clatter against one another. These images are just a sample of the dozens of flowering trees in our neighborhood of SWFL


The flowering trees are appealing not only to us but also to a menagerie of animals from insects, reptiles, and birds. Most of all the flowers of the male plants are attractive to the female plants. The resulting reproductive products of fruits, nuts and seeds can be delicious as well as nutritious to a wide range of creatures.

Mexican Wild Olive (Cordia boissieri)

The colors of the flowers seem to be the most fascinating aspect of their appearance. The approximation of contrasting or complimentary hues and chromas is at times so obvious and sometimes so surprising. Sometimes it is shocking and other times it is soothing. There never seems to be an unpleasant combination. They seem to be more alive and sensuous than their cousins with less showy highlights like the oaks or even more so than the conifers.

Purple Glory AKA Princess flower,

It is such a treat to explore the streets, lanes, gardens, and wilderness to find something new or to see a variation of something familiar. Walking or bicycling provides an excellent opportunity to see and stop to appreciate the details and odors. It is a chance to see which other plants and animals are associated with the flowering trees. These cohabitations can be as intriguing as the flower. It can lead to an exploration of the details of environmental impact and an appreciation of ecological systems. I hope that you are inspired to go out and look for the trees and inspect them and perhaps appreciate their mysteries, of colors, shapes, timing, and scents.

Pink Shower (Cassia)
Dwarf Powderpuff (Calliandra haematocephala) attracting bees.

The flowering trees shown here originate from all over the world including Africa, South and Central America, China, and India and more. Untold secrets of these trees are yet to be discovered. What species of butterflies and moths are attracted to the various trees. Do the non-native trees interact or communicate with the native plant population? Are the plant defenses and pheromones compatible with the local insect population and microbial biota? There is still so much to discover. 

Pride of India (Lagerstroemia speciosa)
Coral Bean
Pink Shower (Cassia)
Plumeria, hot pink
Rose of Venezuela (Brown macrophyllia)
White Silk Floss (Celia speciosa)
Red Silk Floss (Ceiba speciosa)
African Tulip (Spathodea campanulate)
Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimisifolia)
Malibar Chestnut AKA (Pachira aquatica) (Money Tree),
Scrambled Egg Tree (Glaucous Cassia)

The full list of the Flowering Trees of SW FL in found on Pages section of this site. It shows names, colors, sun exposure etc. They also can be geolocated on the Everglades Ark Epicollect data base site, There have been several other postings on this site showering the flowering trees during the special seasons .

#Scrambled Egg Tree #Glaucous Cassia #Malibar Chestnut #Pachira aquatica #Jacaranda #Jacaranda mimisifolia #Cassia #African Tulip #Spathodea campanulate #Red Silk Floss #Ceiba speciosa #White Silk Floss #Rose of Venezuela #Brown macrophyllia #Plumeria, hot pink #Pink Shower #Cassia #Coral Bean #Pride of India #Dwarf Powderpuff #Calliandra haematocephala #Pink Shower #Purple Glory AKA Princess flower #Lagerstroemia speciosa #Pink Shower #Golden Trumpet #Tabebuia chryaotricha #Magnolia #Golden Trumpet #Tabebuia chryaotricha #Flamboyant Royal Poincieana, yellow #Flamboyant Royal Poinciana # Flame Tree #Bauhinia blakenia #Hong Kong orchid tree

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