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Marcus, Joseph A.
Tecoma stans (L.) Juss. ex Kunth
Yellow bells, Yellowbells, Esperanza, Yellow trumpetbush, Yellow trumpetflower, Trumpetbush, Trumpetflower, Yellow elder
Bignoniaceae (Trumpet-Creeper Family)
Synonym(s): Bignonia stans, Stenolobium stans, Tecoma stans var. angustatum
USDA Symbol: TEST
Esperanza or Yellow bells is an irregularly shaped, deciduous shrub, normally 3-6 ft. tall in the US but more southerly varieties can reach 9 ft. It has several stems and slender, erect branches. Clusters of large, trumpet-shaped, yellow flowers are very showy against the lance-shaped, olive-green leaves. Long, thin pods are conspicuous in autumn. It has an enormous natural range, extending from south Texas west to Arizona and south through Mexico and Central America to South America as far as northern Argentina, as well as in southern Florida south through much of the Caribbean. Plants native to the southwestern US and adjacent Mexico are Tecoma stans var. angustata, which is shorter, more drought-tolerant, and more cold-tolerant than some of the tropical varieties sold in nurseries.
Anyone who has seen this plant in bloom can understand why one of its names is Yellow bells, as it produces great, attention-grabbing, yellow blossoms. In recent years, it has become a popular landscaping plant, valued as much for its drought-tolerance as for its spectacular appearance.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov
, TX Native Distribution:
South-central Texas west to Arizona, south through Mexico and Central America to South America as far as northern Argentina. Southern Florida south through the Caribbean. Native Habitat:
High elevations, hillsides, slopes, canyons
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Low Light Requirement:
Sun , Part Shade Soil Moisture:
Dry CaCO3 Tolerance:
High Drought Tolerance:
High Cold Tolerant:
Well drained, rocky, limestone, sand, and loam soils Conditions Comments:
North American native
varieties of this species can survive winters within their natural range but may die to the ground during especially harsh winters even there. Varieties sold in nurseries may be from tropical stock and not do so well in US cold. Yellow bells is drought tolerant and Southwestern varieties are adapted to monsoon rains with dry spells between. They may flower
better if such conditions are emulated in planned landscapes, so allow ground to dry out between waterings. It is tolerant of confinement if containers are at least 12 inches in diameter and thus makes a good potted specimen.
A showy, attractive, long-blooming accent shrub
for rock gardens, perennial
gardens, and other home landscapes within its range Use Wildlife:
Nectar-insects, bees, hummingbirds. Seeds-Small mammals. Leaves-browsed by mammals. Conspicuous Flowers:
Butterflies , Hummingbirds Larval Host:
Dogface butterfly Nectar Source:
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds , Softwood Cuttings
Seed Collection: Collect late summer to fall after pods are no longer green.
Seed Treatment: Air dry at room temperature to store over winter. Sow soon after harvest in loose, moist-but-not-soggy, fine soil for quick germination.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Cut back to the ground if dies back in winter. Prune and pinch spent flowers and pods to encourage blooming and bushiness.
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
- Austin, TXSibley Nature Center
- Midland, TXNative Plant Society of Texas
- Fredericksburg, TXTexas Parks and Wildlife Department
- Austin, TXNPSOT - Fredericksburg Chapter
- Fredericksburg, TXNPSOT - Austin Chapter
- Austin, TXNational Butterfly Center
- Mission, TXNative Seed Network
- Corvallis, ORNPSOT - Williamson County Chapter
- Georgetown, TX, TX
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0684
Collected Nov 22, 1993 in Bexar County by Mike Fox
Record Last Modified: 2010-11-08
Research By: LAL, LAS, GDG