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 Non-Natives Questions

Distribution vs. Native Distribution in NPIN?
September 27, 2013 - I'm a Habitat Steward in Austin and conducting a native plant swap tomorrow, 9/28/13. I need to be able to tell people who come whether their plant is native or not. I want to use your smart phone ...
view the full question and answer

10 year old Wisteria fails to bloom in Rockwall, TX.
May 15, 2013 - I love wisteria. I had four (4) wisteria plants professionally planted at least ten (10) years ago. These wisteria plants have NEVER bloomed. Why not?
view the full question and answer

Information on non-native Erythrinia crista-galli
April 30, 2008 - I am trying to find out some more information on a plant called firemen caps.. How to grow and sun or shade or both..
view the full question and answer

Non-native bamboo for a privacy fence in Smithville, TX
February 16, 2010 - I am considering planting bamboo along my privacy fence inside my back yard. I like the informality of it and durability. Is it safe for children and pets?
view the full question and answer

Taking stock in where and what you grow in Denver Colorado
December 22, 2011 - I have two year old stock plants growing in a container in my home and they are finally starting to bloom. However, the buds open but don't produce any petals. Also they are experiencing yellow leave...
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