En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Tecoma stans problems in Santa Monica CA
September 20, 2010 - I just purchased a mature 6ft tall potted Tecoma Stance Vine (Honeysuckle), It is placed in an area where it gets at least 3 to 4 hours morning/early afternoon sun and then a shaded sun for the rest o...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Indian Hawthorn and Abelia resistance to deer from Ackerman MS
January 16, 2010 - I recently landscaped my yard. I have a large variety of bushes and trees. They have been planted for about a month. Yesterday, while out in the yard, I noticed that about half of my Indian hawthorn...
view the full question and answer

Difference in native and non-native cherry laurel
October 02, 2014 - I have a backyard volunteer that I have identified as a cherry laurel, but how do I tell the Carolina from the non-native? This is still young (2 years or so), and not flowering, at least not now.
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
August 07, 2015 - I live in southeastern Michigan. I found a plant growing in the backyard that caught my eye. I chalked it off as a weed, but it's unique. It is shaped like a bushing type plant, has red stem, each cl...
view the full question and answer

Plants for low light in Houston
April 21, 2009 - I moved from a home in New Jersey to an apartment in Houston, TX -inside court - low light. I can't keep houseplants alive., What do you recommend that I try here? Both inside the apartment and on ...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center