En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Identification of a tree in Florida with bell-shaped red flowers

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - November 23, 2012

From: Murray, KY
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Plant Identification, Trees
Title: Identification of a tree in Florida with bell-shaped red flowers
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

A friend in Florida has asked about identification of a tree with a flower none of us have ever seen. It starts with a green pod, then flowers into, what looks to me like a Chinese lantern, or bell. It is not a Chinese Lantern Tree. The flower is mostly red with yellow edging and in creases. The flower petals are in a spiral. the stamen hangs below the edge of the flower and really does look like a bell clapper. Thank you for any help you might provide. (I was unable to save the pic as a JPEG)

ANSWER:

Our focus and expertise at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center are with plants native to North America.  Tropical and semi-tropical Florida is host to many introduced ornamental plants and I suspect the tree you are describing is one of them.  I did, however, search our Native Plant Database to see if I could find any match for the tree you describe.  You could do the same to see if you see any possibilities.   I did a COMBINATION SEARCH and chose "Florida" from the Select State or Province option, "Tree" from Habit (general appearance) and "Red", "Orange" and "Yellow" from Bloom Characteristics-Bloom Color.   I also did a search substituting "Shrub" for "Tree" in the search.  The only tree that I found that looked similar to your description was Rhododendron austrinum (Orange azalea).

Below are some possibilities for non-native trees with orange/red flowers that grow in Florida:

Cordia sebestena (Geiger tree)

Hibiscus tiliaceus (Sea hibiscus)

There are many species and cultivars of both Brugmansia and Datura that are shaped like the flowers in your description and that come in many different colors.  You can see some of them at Brugmansia Growers International and at DavesGarden.com.

One possibility is Brugmansia suaveolens (Angel trumpet) which does grow in Florida and comes in several colors.

If none of the above matches the tree that you have seen, you can visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos of plants, both native or non-native, for identification.

 

From the Image Gallery


Orange azalea
Rhododendron austrinum

Orange azalea
Rhododendron austrinum

Orange azalea
Rhododendron austrinum

More Trees Questions

Privacy Tree for Austin, TX
February 10, 2013 - Can you recommend a tall privacy plant similar to the Thuya Green Giant that is suitable to the Austin environment?
view the full question and answer

Mexican sycamore for Briarcliff, TX
August 11, 2009 - I would like to plant a sycamore in my yard. I have searched and do not see info on the Mexican sycamore on this website. Is this not recommended in Central Texas for planting? I cannot find the Am...
view the full question and answer

Bird-friendly plants for the Texas coast
July 13, 2012 - I'm interested in starting a native plant garden, specifically with an eye towards providing food (either from the plants or insects that are attracted to the plants) for migratory birds. However, s...
view the full question and answer

Trouble with live oak in McKinney, TX
June 13, 2013 - We moved into a suburban home with a live oak tree with a trunk diameter of about 50". I noticed recently how yellow the leaves look compared to the other live oak in the yard. There is not a pattern...
view the full question and answer

Juniper as host of cedar-apple rust
July 17, 2007 - Thanks for the helpful advice on the Eastern Red Cedar. I was wondering if you could ease my mind about a potential problem. I have read up on some of the native plants in my area in a very good book ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center